Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Video by Hatchet staff videographer Liz Zorn.

Green GW hosted its annual Trashion Show on Wednesday in the Marvin Center, where student designers modeled outfits made from what you threw out after a party.

Students donned (used) solo cups, trash bags and even old copies of The Hatchet.

Sam Donovan, runner up of last season’s “Project Runway: Under the Gunn,” appeared as a special guest judge.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Carly Stern.

In a purposely off-pitch voice, Philippine Cultural Society president Kirstie Espiritu belted out “I came in like a wrecking ball” in the opening scene of the group’s 14th annual showcase, “Tandaan.”

Philippine Cultural Society president Kirstie Espiritu. Deepa Shivaram | Hatchet Photographer

Philippine Cultural Society president Kirstie Espiritu. Deepa Shivaram | Hatchet Photographer

While the sampling of the popular Miley Cyrus song brought some lightheartedness, the focus of the performance was anything but humorous. The group’s piece “Rise Above” portrayed the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines last fall, and the rise in human trafficking in the region.

“Since the Philippines is a very poor country and especially after the Typhoon, people lost everything and they’re devastated, so they resort to other means of making money,” said Sarah Bacani, a sophomore and the show’s co-writer.

Juxtaposed with 10 cultural dances, the play told the heart-wrenching story of a family in the aftermath of the typhoon and how two protagonists were forced into human trafficking. It hoped to demonstrate the resilience of the Filipino people and their ability to overcome adversity.

Past showcases have centered on racial discrimination in the workplace and 1990s Filipino gangs. Espiritu said the performance is meant to “provide perspective into a different culture.”

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Photo courtesy of Bencoolen.

Photo courtesy of Bencoolen.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Elliot Greiner. 

It’s tough enough for new bands to advance past the realm of dive bars and basement shows in D.C. after years of performing together.

But GW indie rock effort Bencoolen got a shot to perform at the popular U Street club Black Cat – a venue that’s hosted bands like Arcade Fire, Radiohead and The White Stripes – only four months after the group’s first live performance together.

“It gives us legitimacy with fans and hopefully momentum into future shows. It could be a step to get us to a point where people recognize our name beyond friends and friends of friends,” junior Teddy Scott, Bencoolen’s lead guitarist, said.

Tickets for the May 12 show cost $12, and doors open at 8 p.m.

Formed last fall in the wake of Scott’s former band Dr. No, Bencoolen has a sound reminiscent of post-2000 alternative-rock: a mix of Bon Iver, Pearl Jam and the Arctic Monkeys, with bluesy sax thrown in.

Boston-based alt-rock bands Little War Twins and Thaylobleu asked Bencoolen to open for them at the Black Cat last month after the students sent them a demo.

They’ve performed at smaller venues like Mellow Mushroom and DC9, but the Black Cat marks a turning point for the band. The music hall, with multiple stages and broad dance floors, stands in stark contrast to the shows Bencoolen is used to playing.

The group partially credits its success to GW’s Student Musicians Coalition, a student organization founded in 2010 that allots on-campus practice space in the basement of Ivory Tower.

The coalition’s support, particularly its promotional work, helps build student fanbases on campus.

In addition to Scott and saxophone player Ian Braker, who are both juniors in the engineering school, the band includes sophomore vocalist and guitarist Paul Gregg, freshman drummer Kevin Mathieu and junior bassist Eric Burke.

This summer, the band plans to record and release their first professional-grade EP, while continuing to strengthen their repertoire. Scott also hopes to have a hand in building the campus music community.

“I hope that other bands could [have the same successes], and we could play a GW music festival,” Scott said. “Or just try to build a music culture here because that’s what you need in an indie rock scene.”

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ariana Mushnick.

Company logo, courtesy of Postmates Facebook page

The Postmates logo. Photo courtesy of the company’s Facebook page.

Step aside, GrubHub. With the delivery app Postmates customers can order anything from a classic Ben’s Chili Bowl hot dog to a new iPhone charger, or even impromptu party supplies.

The app, which came to D.C. in December, promises to deliver any item from local stores to the customer’s doorstep within an hour.

Couriers ride their own bikes or drive their own cars to local restaurants and stores, including those that don’t deliver, to pick up orders at any time of the day. Users can include details right down to which salsa they want in their Chipotle burrito or even request a list of groceries.

Similar to Uber, once an order is placed, the user receives the courrier’s name, phone number and photograph. Customers can also track their deliveries with a GPS map.

Yohan Ferdinando, the app’s D.C. community manager, said customers have ordered everything from pregnancy tests to bottles of champagne.

“You know, it’s not like Star Trek where you hit a button and something just shows up, but being at your doorstep in under an hour, that’s really cool, especially because it’s exactly what you wanted,” Ferdinando said.

Ferdinando said the app was originally created to deliver retail goods and office supplies. But today, 80 percent of Postmates’ delivery requests are for food.

“People started saying, ‘Hey, well if you can bring me a computer or if you can bring me my office supplies in under an hour, often half an hour, why can’t you bring me something that doesn’t deliver? Why can’t you bring me a steak from Smith & Wollensky?’” he said.

Senior Connor McKinney has worked as a courier since February, and said students almost always order food – even when the restaurants are just a short walk away.

“Every, third or fourth order for GW students is Shake Shack and Chipotle,” he said. “People order Chipotle and they live in Thurston.”

The delivery fee can range from $5 to $14, depending on the distance.

“I think we’ve kind of gotten accustomed to having everything right at our fingertips. Now time is just more important to people. They would rather just be able to get everything done quickly, and are willing to pay a little bit more to have their time,” Ferdinando said.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Cailley LaPara.

The members of the Women as Leaders and Agents of Change panel seem to have it all: high-profile positions, jobs with the top companies in D.C. and daily opportunities to impact policy.

But it’s not as effortless as they make it look.

Hosted by GW, the panel brought together six public affairs leaders Thursday to talk about how to make career goals and how to overcome the obstacles women may face in the workplace. Here are five takeaways from their discussion:

1. Let go of plans and seize opportunities

Hannah Kim, press secretary for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), said she always dreamed of becoming a U.S. diplomat to Korea. But her plans to go to law school all changed when she was in a car crash.

“When you’re 22, you think you have all the time in the world to do A, B, C and D, all the way to Z. And you say, ‘When I achieve a certain level, I will do this,’” Kim said.

She said ambitious young professionals can be tempted to plot out their futures on spreadsheets, but careers don’t always go according to plan.

Anna Tunkel said she didn’t know what she was signing up for when she took her first job at APCO Worldwide. But she said taking the leap paid off and led to an exciting and dynamic career.

“Take chances and do things that are really outside your comfort zone,” said Tunkel, who is now the vice president of strategic initiatives.

2. Learn to handle the balancing act

Women who aspire to “have it all” have to balance their families with their work. Christina Bellantoni, editor in chief of Roll Call, said women must learn to juggle responsibilities and goals, but they ultimately have to prioritize.

“Balance is hard for everybody whether you’re super successful or not, whether you have one job or five,” said Bellantoni, who moderated the event. “But the number one thing is understanding what you want for yourself. Set out to achieve that, and the rest of it falls into place.”

3. Keep it in persepctive

While a pay gap exists between men and women in the U.S., Tunkel said women in other parts of the world face even more daunting challenges.

“We can talk all we want about how women have less opportunities, which is true, but at the same time, the amount of things you all here achieve is just remarkable,” Tunkel said.

4. Remember where you come from

Success is never a solitary achievement. All of the panelists credited their success to the help of role models, mentors and family.

“I think a lot of who I am and how I ended up really started with how I was raised,” Scoles said. “My parents always instilled the belief in me that there wasn’t something I couldn’t do.”

Frances Colón, deputy science and technology adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, said her single mother continues to inspire her.

“I’ve had amazing moments, but I think that seeing an independent mother, who very much raised me on her own, just taught me there were never any obstacles,” she said.

5. Speak up.

Kim said she applied to work for Rangel for years before her determination finally landed her the job.

“They called me and said, ‘We know how aggressive you are, we know how crazy you are, and we can trust you’re going to be very loyal to the congressman, so can you come in and be part of our office?’ And here I am,” she said.

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This post was written by assistant culture editor Olivia Kantor.

the white house

The White House. Photo courtesy of Oarabile Mudongo under the Creative Commons License.

When junior Megan Shah earned an internship at the White House, she knew she would soon be roaming the same hallways a top government officials. But nothing could have prepared her for her first run-in with Vice President Joe Biden.

“I nearly stopped in my tracks,” she said.

The fast-paced White House experience – the Narnia of D.C. internships – is  shared by four other GW students this spring.

While plenty of students intern on the Hill, snagging a White House internship isn’t as simple as sending an email to your representative’s intern coordinator. In fact, the process is more akin to a college application, with essays and recommendations as major components.

But the application could be the easiest part of the process, as the packed and unpredictable workload only increases once an intern is accepted. To graduate student Moshtayeen Ahmad, the demanding environment can both inspire and stress.

“If you’ve previously had another internship at a federal agency, which from my own experiences have been pretty substantive and amazing internships, multiply the stress level of that internship by two or three,” Ahmad said in an email interview because the White House does not allow interns to conduct interviews on the phone or in person.

Because this schedule can easily become overwhelming, interns need to work well under pressure – and prove it if they’re going to nab the gig.

To manage the serious time commitment the internship requires, with the minimum time commitment 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, some students graduated early to begin their internships, while others opted to take night classes or applied for continuous enrollment status.

“I try my best to still meet up with friends during the week, but it is difficult, because once you finish work you really don’t want to do anything but go to bed,” said Remi Anne Yamamoto, a 2013 alumni who serves as a communications intern. “That being said, I really make an effort on the weekends. All and all though, it is manageable to maintain your social life, but it will require some adjustments.”

Yamamoto starts her day collecting morning press clips and monitoring White House communications. In exchange for little sleep and early mornings, her internship provides her the chance to develop skills in the high stakes world of political communication.

The internships don’t guarantee a job in the West Wing or provide a shortcut to political power. But for students who are passionate about politics, policy and public service, it’s chance to learn what it takes.

“My job is pretty demanding because I’m expected to execute tasks on the fly, quickly, and most importantly, correctly. It’s a lot of work and it’s long hours, but I love every second I’m here,” Yamamoto said.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Gracie Cook.

Dance-illusionist group MOMIX will be leading audience members through a multimedia magical interpretation of the four seasons in their production of “Botanica” at Lisner Auditorium later this month.

The group’s dream-like production contains as much art as it does physical skill, and is being featured as the final concert in the #LisnerInMotion dance series, presented by Lisner Auditorium and the Washington Performing Arts Society.

Awe-inspiring numbers create stories through the marriage of contemporary dance, humor, circus tricks and memorable props and costumes designed by Michael Curry of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

The dancers move through each season by way of precise choreography, bringing together each individual to create a much larger and more intricate scene.

Photo courtesy of the MOMIX Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the MOMIX Facebook page.

The final product is a reflection of MOMIX’s ability to think of things one can only dream of existing, and bring them to life. The dancing, outrageous costumes and other elements are familiar, but the group’s ability to amplify and enhance each one in a colorful and mesmerizing way results in a fascinating and complex spectacle. The natural beauty that often goes unnoticed, such as the beads of light that twinkle on a spider web, are vibrantly brought to life by the dancers.

MOMIX has worked not only in stage performances but has also extended its visionary work to television and film. Most recently the group appeared in nationwide commercials for Hanes and Target.

Past events featured in the #LisnerInMotion dance series have included “Tango Fire – Flames of Desire” and the annual “Flamenco Festival.” The performances by MOMIX will not only serve lovers of dance, but also those who appreciate organic beauty and art.

Performances are April 25 and April 26 at 8:00 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium and tickets are being sold for $28, $38 and $48.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 1:42 a.m.

Peeps Diorama Contest finds its winner

Photo used under Wikimedia Commons license.

Photo used under Wikimedia Commons license.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Morgan Baskin.

Eight shades of gray paint and 100 peeps later, three D.C. residents found themselves the champions of the Washington Post’s annual Peeps Diorama Contest.

They modeled their project after photographs of the historic 1963 March on Washington, creating a peep-replica of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech by the Washington Monument’s reflecting pool. It took hours of carefully painting the yellow sugar puffs (and molding baby peeps out of clay) to create the final product.

The project beat won over a diorama called “Peeps Painting Peeps,” a social commentary on GW’s upcoming merger with the Corcoran College of Art + Design created by students at Montgomery College’s School of Art and Design.

Another staff favorite (and contest finalist) was a diorama of an average American family congregating in the living room using laptops and cell phones, which had cables connecting to an intelligence room in the NSA.

GW political science professor Sarah Binder entered the contest with her daughter – portraying a peep version of Chris Christie’s Bridgegate – but did not appear to make the final list.

Newsroom staffers at the Washington Post combed through about 700 entries, which are supposed to serve as a “year-in-review” of sorts based off of old Post headlines.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 6:00 p.m.

New reality show to star Capitol Hill staff members

The Capitol. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The U.S. Capitol building. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Tatiana Cirisano.

We may never know how realistic political dramas like “Scandal” and “House of Cards” actually are, but a new reality show could bring us closer to the truth.

Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, the assistant property master of this season’s “House of Cards,” and Jena Serbu, who worked as a production designer for the Discovery Channel series “Amish Mafia,” are behind the show that’s still in the works.

The series will star Capitol Hill staffers between 19 and 29 years old. Producers are seeking “the best and brightest on the hill” for the documentary-style show, according to a leaked casting call invite.

While the show’s creators are rumored to have already completed their first casting call, they will hold a second session on April 26 and are still accepting resumes via email.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 6:34 p.m.

MotherFunkers named best a capella group

Video by Hatchet videographers Carmen Paulson and Haley Lloyd.

Seven of GW’s a capella groups took the stage Thursday to perform renditions of popular songs, with the MotherFunkers earning the top accolade.

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