Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life



Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 10:51 a.m.

Meet the Fall Gig acts

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Callan Tansill-Suddath.

The GW Student Musician Coalition and the GW Feminist Student Union have partnered with WRGW to host the Fall Gig in Square 80 this Saturday. The event is free and intended to “promote local and female artistry in the music industry,” according to the event’s Facebook page. All three bands performing are native to the tri-state area.

Here’s a preview of what to expect at the performance:

“Thin Air” – Wildhoney

Hailing from Baltimore, indie noise-pop group Wildhoney has gained a devoted following since the release of their 2015 album “Your Face Sideways.” Of the songs on the album, “Thin Air,” is one of the more upbeat tracks, with an audible, catchy bassline and a chorus to match. Lead singer Lauren Shusterich’s vocals are girlish and light, which complement the cacophony of drums and guitar in the background, creating a fun and lively — but not overwhelming — sound. Their style is akin to that of Frankie Cosmos and Eskimeaux but with a dreamier and, at times, heavier emphasis on instrumentals.

“For Free” – Den-mate

Den-mate brings a fresh and undoubtedly unique electro-punk sound to the District’s music scene. The overall sound of the five-piece group echoes earlier electro-punk icons, like Crystal Castles, and the vocals sound like a combination of Bjork and Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. In “For Free,” Frontwoman Jules Hale’s sultry, haunting voice shines — meshing perfectly with a hypnotizing guitar riff and the background synthesizers. Though one of the slower tracks on the album, “For Free” is perhaps one of the strongest.

“Doctor” – Priests

Of the three bands scheduled to play at the WRGW Fall Gig, Priests bears the most similar resemblance to the many girl punk bands who laid the groundwork for the genre. Frontwoman Katie Alice Greer spits aggressive yet feminine lyrics and has mastered the transition to more mellow melodies with effortless power. The track “Doctor” sounds like it could have been released twenty years ago, with similarities to the music released during the riot grrrl movement. A powerhouse of aggressive vocals, hard instrumentals and lyrics that Greer described to Washington City Paper as “influenced by ’60s protest folk music,” the music of Priests is a perfect example of what D.C. punk has been and what it will become. In addition to making music, Priests runs Sister Polygon Records, an independent music label.

The WRGW Fall Gig will take place in Square 80 from 1 p.m. to 6p.m. Saturday.

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Updated: March 8, 2015 at 11:41 a.m.

The Mask and Wig Club from the University of Pennsylvania performed its 127th annual production of “A Comedy of Terrors” in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre on Saturday.

The all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe, the oldest in the nation, has taken its show on tour this year, with performances in Philadelphia, D.C., New York City and London.

“It’s been an absolute blast,” said Rishi Simha, the club’s chairman. “Just imagine having 45 of your closest friends packed together on a tour bus, going from city to city, sharing hopefully what you think are some of your best jokes with audiences around the country and even internationally.”

Video by Sara Amrozowicz.

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Saturday, March 7, 2015 5:11 p.m.

Q&A: GW alumni Jukebox the Ghost

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Ariana Mushnick.

Ben Thornewill, Jesse Kristin and Tommy Siegel lived in Amsterdam Hall when it was called New Hall, where a close friendship around music evolved into their band, Jukebox the Ghost.

Jukebox The Ghost

Ben Thornewill in March 2010 at the Black Cat. File Photo by Francis Rivera | Senior Staff Photographer

Just over a decade since their days as GW students, the bandmates have released four studio albums and played hundreds of shows across the country. Vocalist Ben Thornewill talked to The Hatchet about Shania Twain, California and walking by the White House on a snow day. The trio will perform at the 9:30 Club on March 10.

The three of you met while you were students at GW. What were your times like here?

Ben Thornewill: We were all in the same dorm for sophomore through senior year. We played at every frat party, benefit show, casino nights – all of it. We worked out our kinks while we were there, and once we graduated, we started touring and doing it for real.

It was always my goal to make it a career. Tommy was a journalism major, Jesse [studied] biology and I was the one who was studying music. So in my mind, I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do this.’ I had to talk them out of more lucrative careers.

What were your favorite things to do in D.C.?

BT: I loved living by the monuments. One of my favorite moments was on a snow day and I walked in the middle of the night to the White House and saw it right before they they started clearing the paths. I think just living in D.C. and having the chance to see the city in those more private, quiet moments is awesome.

You’re now on your biggest U.S. tour to date, and you recently performed on ‘Conan.’ How does it all feel?

BT: It’s wonderful. We’ve had a bunch of really fantastic sold-out shows in L.A. and Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and hopefully D.C. as well. Conan was an absolute whirlwind. He’s very kind and very tall.

It’s been a really encouraging tour. It feels like there’s an energy throughout it [and] it feels like big things are happening.

Did you ever go to shows at the 9:30 Club and envision yourself playing there?

BT: I went to many shows at the 9:30 Club, [but] I never even envisioned myself playing there because I was just hoping to play the Black Cat. That was our big goal. I thought, ‘Oh, maybe one day.’

You just released your fourth album, and it’s more pop-y than your previous albums. Did you have a vision for the album?

BT: We always want to try to not make the same record twice. We wanted to make a record that was a little more, I guess, on-the-nose pop songs, an album that you could put on at a party and listen to all the way through. We [recorded] 50 odd songs and whittled it down to the 11. I think from start to finish we probably spent nine or 10 months on it.

Do any songs on the album carry a particular meaning for you?

BT: Each song has its place and moment in history. ‘Hollywood’ is the one that’s the most exciting and most engaging [live]. Jesse, the drummer, gets out from behind the drum kit and sings it jazz style. It’s a big showpiece and I love that song.

You’ve been together for over a decade. How has the band evolved?

BT: Almost indescribably. We’re now approaching 30 [years old], and we were 18 [and] 19 when we started it. So we’ve aged, which is doing whatever it does to us. And from the beginning, we were just like idiots living in a dorm and sleeping on the floor to make a record in North Carolina, and now we’re at like 900 shows.

We’ve been touring for eight to nine years, so it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s a constant evolution. I think fundamentally we’re the same people, but it’s nice not sleeping on floors anymore.

Who is your No. 1 music idol?

BT: That’s a good question. Beethoven? Yeah, that can be my answer. Otherwise, I can only think of like smart-ass answers like Shania Twain. She’s touring again.

I’ve heard you play covers during your shows. Is this a tradition, and how do you decide what to cover?

BT: It’s definitely a tradition. It came from our days at GW when we’d play parties and stuff, and people would only want to hear so many original songs. They would want to hear something that they know. So we’d always do something like a nod to the audience.

About a year ago, I very jokingly said what if we did ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ And we were like, ‘Fuck it. Let’s try it.’ And it kills. It’s one of the best covers we’ve done. That’s how it goes. It’s a joke conversation that often ends up being like, alright, let’s try it, and sometimes it works.

What’s the last concert you went to?

BT: Sara Bareilles, who is an such an extraordinary performer. It’s not only the last concert I’ve been to, but like one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen. She’s so personable and has such an extraordinary voice. It really blew me away. I didn’t expect to like [her] as much as I did.

When you’re back in New York, what do you do in your free time?

BT: This is the problem with interviews, because all I want to say is masturbation, which I can’t say, like I’m not allowed to say that.

I read a lot, hang out with friends, probably don’t go to rock clubs because that’s all we do. We’re always writing, we’re always making music, so it’s sort of like a continuation of what we do and who we are on the road, just we don’t have to sleep in Holiday Inn Expresses anymore.

What’s your source of creative inspiration?

BT: Life, music, stuff. Paying attention to the world around you, that’s mostly it. And masturbation.

It looks like you guys had a great time filming the music video for ‘The Great Unknown.’ What was that like?

BT: Truly, it was an awesome time. We started in L.A. in the studio that we recorded the album in, drove up the Pacific Coast Highway, just stopped at beautiful national parks, set up the instruments and just played and filmed it. It ended with a party in San Francisco. All of that was perfect. The best music video experience we’ve had.

Anything you want to say to current GW students?

BT: Masturbation. No. Be weird. Subvert the people. Subvert the man. Screw with everything.

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The Turkish Student Association hosted its seventh annual Turkish Night on Friday in the Marvin Center.

The event brought Turkish culture to GW through food, dance performances and guest speakers, including University President Steven Knapp and Ismail Çobanoğlu, a Turkish diplomat.

“It’s sort of like creating a space for home away from home,” said Beril Akman, a senior from Turkey who joined the Turkish Student Association her freshman year.

Video by Sara Amrozowicz.

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The 12th annual Bokamoso youths’ residency culminated in performances in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre on Friday and Saturday.

Under the leadership of Leslie Jacobson, a professor of theater at GW and the vice president of the Bokamoso Youth Foundation, 13 students have traveled to South Africa each year since 2003 to work with the Bokamoso Youth Centre. Then, every February, the members of the center visit D.C. and stay in residence halls with GW students for the final week of their stay.

“The performances try to reflect both the challenges of the community and the joy in the community,” Jacobson said.

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Captain Cookie and the Milkman will open its doors Thursday after a five-and-a-half-month-long construction process.

Kirk Francis, the owner of Captain Cookie, said he first noticed the available lease in March and took it in July, with a plan to finish construction in 40 days. After running into unexpected complications with the construction company, the store will have its grand opening Thursday at 11 a.m.

“We’re going to be baking them throughout the day,” Francis said. “So the odds of getting a warm cookie are very high.”

The store has been a long time coming for Francis, whose original goal was to open a bakery. Instead, in 2011 he bought a food truck, which he said was a “rusty, rattling bucket of bolts” at the time, for $2,200 on Craigslist. The Captain Cookie food truck hit the streets in 2012 after Francis spent a year repairing it.

“I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies since I was 4 and obsessively perfecting and working on the recipes for everything,” said Francis, who eats between four and six cookies a day.

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Video by senior staff videographer Yara Bishara.

Joshua Nuñez, vice president of GW’s Organization of Latin American Students, gave The Hatchet a rundown of Día de los Muertos.

Also known as Day of the Dead, this Mexican holiday is celebrated annually from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to commemorate the memories of loved ones with music and skulls – some painted on faces and others fashioned out of sugar.

“They kind of show that death doesn’t have to be scary,” Nuñez said. “They symbolize death and rebirth.”

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Video by Hatchet videographers Melissa Mogollon, Diana Marinaccio and Blair Guild.

GW’s Program Board teamed up with the Residence Hall Association this September for an events series called “Breaking the Silence,” aimed at raising awareness about mental health issues.

The events series comes after three students committed suicide last academic year and the groups teamed up to raise awareness about suicide prevention and other mental health resources available on campus.

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Junior Patrick McCormic is one of five first time marketing interns at Bobby's Burger Palace this semester. McCormic performs marketing tasks for the restaurant, including contributing to its Tumblr, serving as a brand ambassador and organizing on-campus community service projects. Elise Apelian | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior Patrick McCormic is one of five first time marketing interns at Bobby’s Burger Palace this semester. McCormic performs marketing tasks for the restaurant, including contributing to its Tumblr, serving as a brand ambassador and organizing on-campus community service projects. Elise Apelian | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter David Harvey.

It’s never been just about the burgers at Bobby’s Burger Palace.

The K Street restaurant, owned by Food Network star Bobby Flay, has also been in the business of promoting its namesake’s brand since it opened in 2011. Now, it has another goal: Preparing the next generation of restaurateurs.

A GW junior is one of five first-time marketing interns at the restaurant this semester, taking part in what Flay calls “Bobby’s Burger Palace University.”

“The whole idea is to create energy around Bobby’s Burger Palace. We do a lot of charity work. We are involved in local meetings to get people more aware we are involved,” Flay said in an interview.

He added that he designed the intern position as “a dream for someone who wants to work in the restaurant” business. That’s what junior Patrick McCormic, an international affairs major who plans to pursue a career in food or sports marketing, hopes to get from the experience.

McCormic, who earns college credit and $8.25 for the position, mostly performs marketing tasks for the restaurant, including contributing to its Tumblr, serving as a brand ambassador and organizing on-campus community service projects.

For their first project, McCormic and his colleagues conducted a community survey to find out what students think about Bobby’s Burger Palace, and if they take part in one of the restaurant’s signature features – “crunchifying” burgers.

“Bobby is really interested to see what students want and think about Bobby’s Burger Palace and what burgers they like,” McCormic said. “Do they know about our money crunch discount? Do they know that [Bobby’s] accepts GWorld?”

McCormic first heard about the internship through GWork and Facebook, and wanted to help promote the brand and his international affairs degree inspired him to pursue marketing.

Plus, he said, “they pay in burgers.”

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It’s a pretty cool feeling, right? Well, now you have a lot of learning to do. We’ve put together a bit of what to expect about life in Foggy Bottom and at GW. There’s more to it than just living a few blocks from the White House.

And to stay all the way up to date on GW, follow The Hatchet on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our email edition.

You can wear your Colonials gear with pride. The men’s basketball team is good again.

Hatchet File Photo

Hatchet File Photo

It’s been a rough few years for GW men’s basketball. While the team was a perennial Atlantic 10 contender last decade, current seniors have grimaced through a combined 40-52 record the last three seasons.

That all looks like it’s changing. The Colonials are the hottest team in the D.C. area, basketballknocking off Maryland, Creighton and Miami en route to a 9-1 start. GW is now considered one of the top five teams in the A-10, and could lock up a NCAA Tournament bid if they stay strong when conference play starts next month. Yes, it’s still early, but keep an eye on the Colonials throughout the spring as they play several games on national or regional television.

Thinking about rushing? About one-third of the undergraduate population is in Greek life.

Hatchet File Photo

Hatchet File Photo

This is one part of GW that surprises many freshmen. While most top urban schools like New York University and Boston University have tiny Greek life populations, about one-third of GW undergrads are in fraternities or sororities. ezgif-save

GW has fall and spring rush – the two weeks when you can go check out fraternities and sororities.

The benefits? Friends, philanthropy opportunities and campus influence. The costs? Membership isn’t cheap, and there have been some recent reports of hazing.

More questions? This video may have your answers.

There will be more than $500 million of new building space that opens over your four years.

Hatchet File Photo

Hatchet File Photo

So you were admitted to GW in December 2013. By the time you graduate, campus will look pretty different. In fact, there will be more than $500 million worth of construction projects completed by the time you graduate in 2018.

1. Spring 2014: $75 million School of Public Health and Health Services building
It’ll be the first time the public health school is housed under one roof – a milestone for a college raking in research money.

2. Fall 2014: $33 million GW Museum
The GW Museum mostly elicits eye rolls from students, though the largest gift in the University’s history is helping to fund it.

3. Winter 2015: $275 million Science and Engineering Hall
This is GW’s shining star. The most expensive building in the University’s history will look to bolster its second-tier science and engineering programs and create a better research environment.

4. Fall 2016: $130 million Square 77 a.k.a. the ‘superdorm’
You, the Class of 2018, could be one of the first students to live in this mega-hall that will include restaurants, study space and three merged residence halls in the heart of campus.

5. TBD: New student health center
This was the Student Association’s big win this year. University President Steven Knapp committed to moving the health and counseling centers to campus. It won’t be cheap and we don’t know where yet. Tompkins Hall? Marvin Center? We’ll probably know by the summer.

Scandal, scandal and “Scandal.”

Don’t worry, GW is ranked in the U.S. News & World Report top colleges list again after a year’s absence. But just as the University dusted off that scandal, administrators got in a bit more hot water.

First, there was the very public firing of former GW School of Business dean Doug Guthrie. He overspent the college’s budget by $13 million. Then, top officials and professors got in one of the most dramatic games of he-said-she-said that you’ll see in higher education. There was talk of slander, sex and illegal financial deals. (All was false, according to GW.)

Then, there was another admissions scandal. It turns out that like many private colleges, GW had been waitlisting students who could not pay full tuition, while accepting students who could. The trouble was that top officials had said otherwise for years.

But on a positive note, “Scandal” star Kerry Washington is a proud alumna. She also delivered a pretty great Commencement speech last May. And yes, GW puts on one of the best graduation ceremonies in the country, renting out the National Mall for a morning for thousands of departing Colonials.

There’s a big gay, lesbian and bisexual population here.

Gay marriage supporters outside the Supreme Court last spring. Hatchet File Photo.

Gay marriage supporters outside the Supreme Court last spring. Hatchet File Photo.

You’ve probably heard it: Gay Double Jew. No? Thirty percent of GW students are Jewish (the fifth highest rate for U.S. universities). But the University is also pretty well-known for its sizeable gay population.

We had gender-neutral housing before it was cool. GW had the first transgender athlete in NCAA Division 1 history, Kye Allums, who came out on the women’s basketball team in 2010. Pretty much everyone freaked out when the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8. And even LGBT faculty and administrators share their coming out stories.

Plus, the largest LGBT student org, Allied in Pride, organized a drag show for straight fraternity members last year. Watch the action below.

Most politically active, and most lean left.

Students swarmed the White House after Osama bin Laden's killing in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

Students swarmed the White House after Osama bin Laden’s killing in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

Maybe you applied to GW because of how politically driven students are. Princeton Review called us the most politically active school this year, after all. District politics is woven so deeply into the fabric of GW that it’s become a meme, a hashtag and an entire brand. #OnlyAtGW refers to waking up to presidential motorcades and running to the White House on election night (which is a thing, by the way.)

When you break it down, it might not be a surprise that most students and faculty are liberal. Two-thirds of students supported Obama last election and professors overwhelmingly donated to the president.

But yes, there are cool speakers and strong student org presence across the political spectrum.

There are two major on-campus concerts each year: Fall Fest and Spring Fling.

Here’s what it’s like to go to one.

Oh, and Macklemore took a selfie when he played at GW and it won “selfie of the year.”

Macklemore selfie at GW Fall Fest 2013. Photo courtesy of Reddit User GWizzle.

Macklemore selfie at GW Fall Fest 2013. Photo courtesy of Reddit User GWizzle.

#OnlyAtGW (for real this time).

Your new food pyramid will probably include a lot of Chipotle.

The booming Foggy Bottom dining scene is your new dining hall. You won’t hear many good chipotlethings about J Street – where you have to spend a chunk of dining dollars freshman year – but eateries like Chipotle, Whole Foods, Sweetgreen and Burger Tap and Shake will tempt you.

There are a lot of food trucks too. One of the best, GW students would say, is CapMac. There was an emotional farewell to the mac-and-cheese food truck this fall, but it appears they’ll soon be under new management.

You’ve heard scary things about the Vern. You’ve heard scary things about Thurston. What’s that all about?

The Vern, where hundreds of freshmen will live. Hatchet File Photo

The Vern, where hundreds of freshmen will live. Hatchet File Photo

In the spring, it’s going to be time to pick your residence hall. Since you’re Early Decision 1, you get first dibs. Most ED1ers wind up picking Potomac or Lafayette halls, but 84-year-old Thurston Hall houses more than 1,100 freshmen each year and the Mount Vernon Campus is home to a few hundreds first-year Colonials too.

So yes, while you may have written in your college essay about wanting to experience the vibrant urban life of GW, you could be about a 20-minute bus ride away in a suburban, green neighborhood. With a renovated residence hall and academic buildings there, the Vern is becoming more of a destination for GW kids, but can still be a pain. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.

And to squash the rumors, no, Thurston was not named the most sexually active dorm in the U.S. It’s not the nicest residence hall GW has, but there is a cool basement study area and plenty of opportunities to meet new people. It’s a GW rite of passage.

Yes, GW has a very high tuition sticker price. No, that doesn’t make it a ‘rich-kid school.’ But yes, affordability is still a big issue.

Protesters rally against rising college debt loads in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

Protesters rally against rising college debt loads in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

You’ve probably heard it from your parents, friends, extended relatives. ‘GW? That’s the really expensive school, right?’

Let’s get one thing straight: Universities are nonprofit businesses that run mostly on your tuition dollars.

But the University made itself the poster child for sky-high tuition prices six years ago when it was the first to pass the $50,000-a-year threshold. GW is no longer in the tip-top echelon of most-expensive colleges, but its reputation follows it. The Washington Post published a damning story about GW’s “Great Gatsby” reputation last spring. And GW’s former president told The Atlantic last year that he priced GW’s tuition so high because, like high-priced vodka, it creates the “illusion of quality.

But there are reasons GW deserves some credit lately: It has poured money into financial aid and looked to cut costs to fund more scholarships. There’s also the fixed-tuition policy for undergraduates, which prevents students from having to shell out 3 to 5 percent more each year.

And that whole need-blind scandal? Being need-aware actually lets GW fund a fuller portion of students’ financial need, administrators say. The University meets an average of about 88 percent of a student’s demonstrated need, compared to New York University, which meets just 55 percent even though it does not consider financial need in the admissions process.

If you study international affairs or business, you’ll be going with the crowd.

The Elliott School of International Affairs building on E Street. Hatchet File Photo

The Elliott School of International Affairs building on E Street. Hatchet File Photo

Don’t have your major picked out? That’s okay, plenty of freshmen come in without a major declared. Here were the top five subjects GW students studied last year, according to internal data:
1. International affairs (2,026)
2. Pre-business administration (725)
3. Political science (375)
4. Psychology (325)
5. Economics (284)

What have people been reading?

You don’t want to be behind the times when you step on campus next fall. Here’s our most-read stories of 2013:
1. GW misrepresented admissions, financial aid policy for years
2. Students mobilize to remove priest
3. A hot dog man, an allegation and a disappearance
4. Doug Guthrie out as business school dean
5. Manouch accused of sexual abuse
6. Law faculty plotted to oust dean
7. Top faculty leader accused of slander attack against Doug Guthrie
8. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to headline Spring Fling
9. The sham friendships of Greek life
10. GW to crack down on students throwing parties in off-campus townhouses

One last question: How do I join The Hatchet?

Every fall, freshmen can apply to be Hatchet reporters, photographers, videographers, designers, coders and developers. Here’s a little more info about us. Email if you have other questions and make sure to sign up in the fall!

This story was updated Dec. 19 at 8:46 p.m. to reflect the news that CapMac lives after all.

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