Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Casal Català of D.C. hosted the first annual World Book Day, also a traditional Catalonian festival known as Sant Jordi, on Saturday in Dupont Circle.

“This year, we thought that we wanted to bring it to Washington for all the Washingtonians to enjoy,” said Mar Tarrés of Casal Català.

UNESCO adopted April 23 as World Book Day, and it is now celebrated in more than 50 places across the world.

Video by Haley Lloyd.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015 12:38 p.m.

Video: GW Battle of the A Cappellas

Seven a cappella groups performed in GW Class Council’s Battle of the A Cappellas. The GW Vibes took first place this year, beating last year’s winner, the GW MotherFunkers.

Each group performed two songs and were judged by an administrator, a student and a guest judge from the national organization Chorus America.

Video by Sara Amrozowicz.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015 12:09 p.m.

Take a two-wheeled tour of the city

The Capital Crescent Trail is one of the most popular biking routes in the country with 11 miles of rail trail that extend from Georgetown to Silver Spring, Md. Lydia Francis | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Capital Crescent Trail is one of the most popular biking routes in the country with 11 miles of rail trail that extend from Georgetown to Silver Spring, Md. Lydia Francis | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Christina Carpenter.

The hordes of tourists have dwindled post-cherry blossom bloom so now’s your chance to snag a Capital Bike – or your roommate’s – and explore the District. Capital Bikeshare offers a number of membership fees ranging from $7 a day to a year-long pass for $75.

The first 30 minutes of each trip are free and each additional half-hour adds an extra fee. If you’re looking to make a long-term investment, you can purchase a bike at local shops like The Bike Shop on 24th Street.

Once you’ve picked your ride, abandon that boring path you bike every day. D.C. has more than 100 miles of bike lanes and trails you may never have cruised before.

Capital Crescent Trail winds from Georgetown to Silver Spring on an old railroad track. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Lady Bird Johnson Park is located alongside the Potomac River, making it a picturesque destination for bikers, runners and walkers during the spring and summer months. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Capital Crescent Trail 3500 K St. NW
This 11-mile sightseeing trail follows an abandoned railroad from K Street in Georgetown to Silver Spring, Md., crossing through downtown Bethesda. The old rail was once used to transport lumber and provide coal for power plants. The trail is popular among walkers, joggers, bikers and rollerbladers. In fact, it’s the most heavily used rail trail in the U.S., according to its website. The last portion of the trail, which is still unpaved, will be rebuilt along with the Purple Line.

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens 1703 32nd St. NW
You don’t have to go to Versailles to see a garden that National Geographic ranked in a list of the top 10 in the world. Dumbarton Oaks, located at the North end of Georgetown, is often compared to The Secret Garden with its fountains, mosaic tiles and rose bushes.

In the spring, the gardens are open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is $8. The Dumbarton Oaks Museum is free and open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The nearest Capital Bikeshare station is located two blocks from the museum. If you have a bike of your own, park it in the bicycle racks at the entrances of the garden and museum.

Lady Bird Johnson Park George Washington Memorial Parkway
Located along the Potomac River, Lady Bird Johnson Park is about three and a half miles from Foggy Bottom near the Pentagon. Although it is technically in the borders of D.C., it is closer to the Virginia side of the river.

In the spring, the island is covered in blooming daffodils, tulips and cherry trees. The park is also home to two memorials: the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove and the Navy and Marine Memorial.

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D.C. residents had a smoke-in at the Capitol on April 20 to celebrate the legalization of marijuana in the District.

Although things may have changed in D.C., not much will be changing for GW students.

“For them, nothing’s really changed,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “They’re still going to be buying marijuana illegal from peers.”

Video by Bo Erickson and Clare Hymes.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015 8:42 p.m.

Holi festival 2015

The GW Hindu Student Association hosted Holi on Sunday to celebrate the arrival of spring.

More than 800 people were planning to attend this year’s event in Square 80 and throw colored powder in the air for the South Asian holiday.

“It’s really liberating to run around with people you don’t know and throw stuff at them, in a nice way,” freshman Alison Oksnard said.

Video by Sarah Mann.

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Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, performed during the Global Citizen Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, performed during the Global Citizen Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Victoria Sheridan.

The National Mall attracted more than just the typical tourist crowd Saturday as thousands attended the fourth annual Global Citizen Festival near the Washington Monument.

Part-music festival and part-environmental rally, the free event, hosted by Will.i.am and journalist Soledad O’Brien, featured celebrities and politicians promoting initiatives to end poverty by the year 2030 and reduce climate change.

Fall Out Boy performed during the six-hour show, which was also an environmental rally. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Fall Out Boy performed during the six-hour show, which was also an environmental rally. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

In spite of the 80-degree heat, headliners like Mary J. Blige, Train and Fall Out Boy kept the audience on its feet with electrifying performances throughout the six-hour show, which also commemorates the upcoming 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

In between musical performances, activists and world leaders took to the stage urging spectators to support various causes by pressuring elected officials, donating money and signing petitions. They touched on topics like clean drinking water and sustainable living. Celebrities who delivered speeches included actors Don Cheadle, Freida Pinto and Bonnie Wright.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde appeared after their policy meetings to thank the crowd for its efforts.

“This morning, 188 ministers of finance and governors of central banks were at the IMF, and they heard a big noise and it was you,” Lagarde said, “Because they heard you and because they will continue to hear you, they are committed to the cause of ending poverty and financing development.”

Usher was recovering from a broken foot, and used a golden crutch during his performance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Usher was recovering from a broken foot, and used a golden crutch during his performance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Although he was recovering from a broken foot, headliner Usher still performed his signature dance moves to pop hits like “OMG” and “Yeah.” His set also featured performances from rapper Common and EDM artist Martin Garrix.

“One foot don’t stop no show,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world. This is all about love, hope, togetherness, peace.”

Limping on a golden crutch in between songs, he reminded the audience to work together while trying to end poverty, before delivering soulful covers of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

The final act of the evening was No Doubt, re-energizing the crowd with its upbeat reggae-infused tracks like “Just a Girl,” “Hey Baby,” and “Sunday Morning,” during which lead singer Gwen Stefani leapt into the crowd to greet screaming fans.

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The post was written Hatchet reporter by Abigail Eddy.

Just before 10 p.m. on Thursday, members of the GW Jazz Orchestra were wrapping up their lively set before a crowd of about four dozen in the small courtyard on the corner of 22nd and G Street.

Lit only by a nearby streetlight and scattered lights on music stands, the makeshift stage was host to poets, artists and activists as part of ”Save the Arts GW” 16-hour protest concert. By the time the group performed, the concert was already five hours underway.

Passersby paused to observe and students clustered together on blankets to watch The Troubadours, Sons of Pitch and about 20 other groups perform in protest of recent cuts to GW’s music department’s budget — changes students and faculty said will dramatically alter the department.

After the coalition picked April 16 to hold the protest, they learned a GW Admitted Students Day would fall on Friday. As dozens of accepted students and their parents strolled by, supporters handed them brightly-colored fliers with bullet points describing how the University-wide budget cuts will affect the music department and the department of theatre and dance.

Stephen Arnold, a sophomore and one of the student organizers, emceed the event. Around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, he wrapped up the concert by thanking the various groups involved and the protest concluded with a cover of “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles.

“It seems that people care and it’s validating. Hopefully [the administration] will acknowledge it and we will have our voices heard,” Arnold said.

The protest concert began in Kogan Plaza, but was relocated within two hours to the space next to the GW Deli. Zach Sanders, a freshman and one of the organizers, said they’d expected to be asked to move. He said he was “happy to have a legitimate place” to perform.

The group secured an official permit for the space next to the GW Deli from Metropolitan Police Department. Arnold said GW helped them secure the last-minute permit.

“We didn’t even know we needed a permit,” Arnold said. “There was a portion of the group that thought we that we could get arrested.”

Attendees were encouraged to take pictures of the performances, and performers asked the crowd to use #SavetheArtsGW on Twitter. About 900 people clicked “attend” on Facebook, and the crowd fluctuated between 30 and 50 people.

Sam Pfister, who manages instrument rentals for the student musician coalition and has written for The Hatchet, said the group cobbled the event together in about two weeks.

“We tried to accommodate everyone. I’m shocked at the number of people who wanted to perform,” he said.

Catherine Moran contributed reporting.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015 1:39 p.m.

My weekend with a Fitbit

Even President Obama and Ryan Reynolds wear a FitBit, a small device that tracks your exercise, steps and sleep patterns to encourage a healthier lifestyle while still looking discrete and stylish. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Even President Barack Obama and Ryan Reynolds have worn a FitBit, a small device that tracks your exercise, steps and sleep patterns to encourage a healthier lifestyle while still looking discrete and stylish. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Kathleen Baltazar.

I spent my weekend how I usually spend it: up before sunrise and running around until way past sunset. The only difference in my hectic schedule was that I was accompanied by a Fitbit.

My friends asked me, “What is that thing?” staring at the wristband that tracks activity, calorie intake and sleep. Like other fitness apps, Fitbit asks for data like gender, weight and fitness goals. The tracker – tucked into a sleek band that comes in colors like black, orange and bright pink – is about half the size of my thumb.

Fitbit has grown in popularity in the last year. Actor Ryan Reynolds was caught wearing a Fitbit Flex while walking his dog. Television personality Star Jones was sporting a red Fitbit Flex on “The View.” And just a few weeks ago, President Barack Obama was spotted wearing the Fitbit Surge while meeting with Ireland’s prime minister.

Normally, I think people should listen to their bodies without the help of technology, but I decided to try it out and downloaded the free app on my phone.

Even with the Fitbit wrapped around my wrist, I forgot I was wearing the tracker until I took a look at my phone and noticed that I’d taken more than 1,000 steps from my class on E Street to Fulbright Hall. My walk to Dupont Circle for a yoga class was about 2,000 steps.

Rather than checking Instagram and scrolling through pictures, I found myself scanning the Fitbit dashboard to check how many calories I had left for the day and what time I would need to go to sleep to get those perfect eight hours.

And while it may seem strange, it was fun to watch as my counter climbed past the 10,000-step mark. On my busiest day, I walked over 18,000 steps without even realizing how much I’d moved around. I wanted to take the stairs in every building just for the satisfaction of getting another badge, which meant I’d hit another goal.

Fitbit feels like a healthier alternative to apps like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt that encourage you to obsess over every calorie consumed. It’s made for people who just want to live a more active lifestyle and have a subtle reminder to skip the elevator ride or a second donut.

You can get the basic Fitbit for about $60. A Fitbit Surge, which includes a GPS and a feature to stream music from your phone, costs about $250.

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Green GW hosted its annual Trashion Show on Monday night in the Marvin Center.

The event, which featured models wearing sustainable outfits crafted by student designers, was judged by a panel including Lauren Singer, a blogger who leads a completely zero-waste life.

The winner of this year’s Trashion Show was Tara Adam, who designed a dress made of trash bags that was modeled after Lupita Nyong’o's Academy Awards dress.

Video by Anna Sumi.

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Kick your summer diet to the curb and indulge in free treats in Georgetown.

Sprinkles, cupcakes, Georgetown

Photo used under Creative Commons.

To celebrate its 10th year in business, Sprinkles, which was voted runner up for Best Cupcake in the 2015 Best of Northwest, will give out free cupcakes until 9 p.m. and introduce a new flavor. The cupcakery opened its doors in Beverly Hills a decade ago, and since then, Sprinkles says it has served 25 million red velvet cupcakes.

Sprinkles is located at 3015 M St. NW. 

On Tuesday, it’s Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s from noon until 8 p.m. The holiday is probably older than you are: Ben & Jerry’s has given out free cones once a year since 1979. According to its website, 47 percent of frugal ice cream fans will order chocolate chip cookie dough, but this being the capital, Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream is probably more popular.

Ben & Jerry’s is located at 3135 M St. NW. 

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