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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Events that freshmen should attend to get the most out of Orientation Week

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The week kicks off Monday morning with a welcome breakfast with GW Hillel, followed by “Building Welcome Programs,” which will introduce freshmen to their residence hall and living community. 

It’s about that time again, when thousands of freshmen full of luggage stockpiled in blue carts will make their way to campus for a week full of orientation events.

This year’s Orientation Week spans from this past Saturday, Aug. 20 through next Sunday, Aug. 28 and is full of academic information sessions and other educational resources alongside recreational activities, like cookouts at the Mount Vernon Campus quad and monument walks, to introduce freshmen to campus life. New Student Orientation occurs annually right before classes start as a way for freshmen to feel more confident as they enter a new chapter of their academic and social lives – this year’s theme is presented as Empowering Community: Reflection & Resilience.

Izzy Banks, a student coordinator who helped plan New Student Orientation programming and train orientation leaders, said the week of events is vital for freshmen to establish their own community on campus.

“I believe that one of the most exciting parts about matriculating into college is meeting new people and learning about the University,” she said in an email. “Orientation is the perfect opportunity to do this and facilitates such activities.”

Banks said the team of orientation leaders planned Orientation Week events based on six principles – preparing students for GW and D.C., developing a culture of compassion, maintaining participation, encouraging shared pride in GW, building community connections, promoting open discussion and destigmatizing health-related resources. She said the principles are meant to create an orientation structure that can connect students to academic departments and student organizations through GW’s resources and events, like Org Fair Fridays.

“Incoming students are not in this alone,” Banks said. “Not only are they part of an amazing incoming class, but they are now members of the GW community, and they have the support of their fellow community members throughout the week and throughout their time at GW.”

The week of orientation events kicks off Monday morning with a welcome breakfast with GW Hillel, followed by “Building Welcome Programs,” which will introduce freshmen to their residence hall and living community. Tuesday is chock-full of events, including an optional campus tour with admissions guides and a movie night on the Mount Vernon Campus quad.

Daniel Pink, the author of five New York Times bestsellers, will deliver a keynote speech Wednesday morning to discuss his book “The Power of Regret,” which GW distribute to the freshman class for encouraged summer reading in June. Transfer students can also join a meet-and-greet later from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday night, the entire Class of 2026 will file into the Smith Center, where interim University President Mark Wrighton among other faculty and staff will address students at the spirit-filled Buff and Blue Kickoff. Banks said students will learn GW’s fight song at the assembly before the night turns into live music at the annual House Party, where students can dance with friends, play games and take a stab at winning more prizes.

Thursday morning will start with orientation events hosted by each undergraduate academic school. Later that night, kick back to the early 2000s with GW Late Night Committee’s first-ever ​​​​​​​​​​​​Throwback Thursday Takeover at 9 p.m. in the University Student Center. Students will be able to partake in trivia with a team of friends, watch a 2000s film, play video games and make crafts.

Friday ushers in some of the largest recreational events of the week that freshmen can’t miss. Soak up the final week of summer at the Mount Vernon Pool Party or embrace the District’s landmarks at the National Mall Kickback with lawn games and food before a late-night monument walk.

On Saturday, the Welcome Day of Service – hosted by the Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service – will introduce freshmen to community service opportunities within the D.C. region spanning across D.C. and parts of Maryland from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

Orientation Week will cap off Saturday evening with the University’s biggest event of the year – First Night. This spirited whirlwind of a celebration features carnival games, inflatables, free food from vendors like Dominos and Insomnia Cookies and a chance to win prizes.

On Sunday, new students will attend a training session with the Title IX Office, which will teach how to “prevent sexual harassment through the use of active bystander skills” and provide a general overview of students’ rights, responsibilities and campus resources under Title IX.

Feel overwhelmed by the week’s packed schedule? Banks recommends students to reach out to members of the orientation leadership team, who give out their information to their assigned small group of about 25 freshmen.

“The orientation leader that students were assigned over the summer are still available to them as resources and can provide a lot of reassurance about the schedule,” she said.

Banks said she hopes freshmen walk away from orientation with a sense of belonging within the GW community. She said the orientation team aims to ensure they experience and form new relationships that will help them solidify this connection.

“Whether this be an organization at the org fair, a department at GW or a student who they got the opportunity to meet, we want to introduce students to everything that GW has,” Banks said. “And we hope that they come away with a vision of what their life at GW will look like.”

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