Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life


Steven Knapp

Freshmen visited more than 50 sites in Washington, D.C.,  Maryland, and Virginia as part of GW’s annual Freshman Day of Service Saturday.

Students furnished apartments at A Wider Circle’s North Capital Commons, a mixed-income housing property for formerly homeless veterans. Students served alongside University President Steven Knapp.

“To set the example of service I think is one of the critical ways of educating [students] as citizens and leaders,” said Knapp.

Video by Georgie Lawson

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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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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Emily Holland

Once you dig through final papers and exams, winter break gives you a few weeks to take on some recreational reading that did not fit in the tight semester schedule.

The Hatchet asked various professors and faculty members for their current favorite books that would make for great leisure reading or last-minute holiday gifts. Here’s what they said:

University President Steven Knapp


Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us” by Duncan J. Watts

“It’s a fascinating and rather sobering account of how the human tendency to make sense of experience by devising ‘commonsense’ explanations is both necessary and highly fallible. For those of us in the business of either planning strategies for the future or reconstructing explanations of what occurred in the past, I think this is a good candidate for essential reading.”


Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens

“I was recently on a river taxi on the Thames River in London and was once again awed by the river’s sheer power, as well as the vast stretch of history it flows by. The experience reminded me of the astoundingly bleak and thrilling opening of Charles Dickens’s rich and highly entertaining late novel ‘Our Mutual Friend,’ which leads me to recommend for holiday shopping and/or reading over the break anything by Dickens you can get your hands on.”

Irene Foster – assistant professor of economics


Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

 “A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Kahneman discusses his research with Amos Tversky on the different ways we think. Much of this work is the basis for behavioral economics. The book is an easy and fascinating read.”

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

“A broad and sweeping discussion based on economic history and development economics on why some countries are rich and others are poor. The examples in the book are very interesting and will make for good holiday party conversations!”


March: Book One,” the first installment of a three-part graphic novel by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

“It is a vivid description of his involvement in the civil-rights movement – the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom rides, etc.  I was particularly interested in the fact that he wrote this as a graphic novel to interest younger generations. Since I spent many years teaching at Vanderbilt and Tennessee State University (an HBCU) in Nashville, Tenn. where the lunch counter sit-ins took place and where many of the Freedom Riders are from, I will be looking forward to installments 2 and 3.”

David McAleavey – professor of English


Slow Lightning” by Eduardo Corral

“Deeply empathic, startlingly imaginative, full of violence and love and desire. Could be tough going for those not very familiar with reading poetry, and his being an outspoken gay Hispanic writer means that there are many sharp edges here. Read with care! I’ve been having students read this the past couple of semesters, and I’d say that it’s the book that has had the strongest impact on them.”


I Am a Strange Loop” by Douglas Hofstadter

“I’m sure there are better books exploring the intersection of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, but this suggests a way to understand our sense of being individuals that doesn’t posit any actual separate thing that corresponds to identity (no ‘soul’ or ‘true self’). Instead, Hofstadter suggests our sense of who we are is built up the way a loop in a circuit is created, as an epiphenomenon – real enough, but a byproduct. That idea has many intriguing repercussions, and it’s a book I’ve thought a lot about over the past few years.”

Beth Adams – adjunct assistant professor in the department of clinical research and leadership


To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“I’ve read this book countless times but each time I come away reminded that though there is a great capacity for evil in this world, there is a greater capacity for good. I believe that the greatest ‘tool’ we carry with us each day is our humanity and with that ‘tool’ we have the potential to change someone’s day by something as simple as a smile, a greeting or a helpful hand. Scout Finch reaffirms this belief when she averts evil by greeting a neighbor in the midst of an angry mob with torches & pitchforks.”

The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

“Narrated by Death, this beautifully written book tells the story of Liesel, a ten-year-old girl in Nazi Germany from 1939-1943. The books she steals mark events in her life and fuel her transformation from illiterate to literate to author, along with her understanding that words have the power to transform and cut the tension between human kindness and human cruelty. Imagine choosing 10 books to tell the story of your life.”

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Michael Massaroli, Jr. lost his father on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four passenger airplanes and crashed them in New York City, Shanksville, Pa. and D.C.

“Although the fire at ground zero is out, the Pentagon is repaired and people’s hearts have begun to heal, we will never forget what happened that day,” the sophomore told dozens who gathered Wednesday in University Yard.

Michael Massaroli, Sr. worked at a financial services firm on the 101st floor of Tower 1 and was 38 years old when he died.

Students stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the 12th anniversary of the attacks and held candles as campus leaders, including University President Steven Knapp, honored the nearly 3,000 victims.

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Monday, July 8, 2013 2:38 p.m.

A comeback for @fakeStevenknapp?

Hunter Patterson, a 2010 alumnus, stands in front of University President Steven Knapp’s house. Patterson tweeted Monday that he is looking for a GW student to revive the account that parodies Knapp. Hatchet File Photo

University President Steven Knapp was safe from social-media skewering for just under five months. But now, the Twitter satirist @fakeStevenknapp is looking to make a comeback.

Hunter Patterson, 2010 graduate behind the popular GW-themed parody Twitter account, tweeted from his personal account Monday that he is looking for a replacement after declaring in March that he was stepping away from @fakeStevenknapp.

#GWU undergards. Are you funny? Do you think you’re funny? Do you want to become @fakestevenknapp? DM me to learn more.

— Hunter Patterson (@whpatterson) July 8, 2013

Patterson also made the announcement from the parody account Monday morning, following up by saying that interested applicants can email He said the selection process will be informal and that he is looking for someone he thinks will “carry the account into the future.”

He added the will leave the decision of whether or not to remain anonymous up to the new account holder.

With more than 3,600 followers, Patterson used to tweet daily from the account, mocking administrators, the Student Association and GW athletics.

Do you think @fakeStevenknapp can make a comeback? Will it still be funny? Tell us in the comments. 

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Monday, May 6, 2013 9:04 a.m.

It’s Monday

News from the outside world to help you further procrastinate on that study guide.

–While you were wasting away in Gelman, everyone’s favorite shield wielding superhero was busy fighting crime a few blocks away. Check out this grainy footage of the Captain America sequel that was filmed on the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge this past Sunday.

–In between tapings of his audio blog and various speaking appearances, Vice President Joe Biden’s threw a raging Cinco de Mayo party this past Sunday. The fiesta even featured salsa with VP’s face on it.

— And in the vein of cute animals doing unusual things, check out the National Zoo’s latest addition, Bozie: The Painting Elephant.

— Did you check out Puppy Palooza on campus Saturday? University President Steven Knapp hit the badminton court at the event in University Yard. And he knew what he was doing.

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Warm spring days have drawn more and more students to University Yard recently, but hundreds flocked there Saturday afternoon for a new attraction: puppies.

During pre-finals weekend, students waited in long lines for a chance to cuddle and play with dogs that two local adoption agencies – Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation and City Dogs Rescue – brought to campus.

The Center for Student Engagement and Program Board hosted the first annual Puppy Palooza, which also included appearances from University President Steven Knapp and his dog Ruffles.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012 1:11 p.m.

Corcoran bell tower sounds out new tunes

The speaker system in Corcoran Hall's bell tower was repaired earlier this month and will now play a variety of new songs. Hatchet File Photo

The sound of new music is ringing on campus.

The bell tower at the top of Corcoran Hall has historically played the GW Fight Song at noon and the alma mater at 3:15 p.m. daily. The old carillon speakers which played the tunes received an upgrade earlier this month and University President Steven Knapp felt it was time to add some new songs to the original mix.

After a system upgrade, passersby can now hear different music at 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” as well as “Yesterday” by The Beatles and “Moon River,” originally sung by Audrey Hepburn, have all played this past week. The traditional fight song and alma mater will continue to play at their regularly scheduled times.


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The GW Voice Gospel Choir performs during the Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Multicultural Students Services Center, in the Marvin Center's Betts Theater Thursday night. Delaney Walsh | Hatchet photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Camille Herring.
Correction appended
When junior Emi Kamemoto first heard about the tsunami in Japan last March, she wanted to help even though was she more than 7,000 miles away.

Kamemoto, who worked with the Japanese American Student Alliance to organize “Hope for Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fundraiser” to help raise money and awareness on campus, was honored Friday for her work at GW’s 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award ceremony.

Kamemoto is one of six student recipients of the award, which honors those in the GW community whose service and leadership mirror that of the great American icon.

This year’s award ceremony was held at the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre and was coordinated by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Committee and Multicultural Student Services Center.

“This ceremony is positioned right around a week we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and it is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on this great poet and who this award is named after,” University President Steven Knapp said.

Along with Kamemoto, the award was also given to seniors Natasha Dupee and Maya-Lindsey Thomas; juniors Karissa Broderick-Beck and Uchenna Nwokike; and graduate student Michael Komo. Faculty recipients were Dana Tai Soon Burgess, associate professor of dance and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Travis Wright, an assistant professor of education.

Komo, in a master’s degree program for legislative affairs, has worked with many student groups on campus including Allied in Pride, GW’s LGBT student advocacy organization.

“”Some day, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win a primary or a caucus on her quest to the presidency; some day, it will be unremarkable for a person of color to be President; and some day, it will be unremarkable for two men or two women to marry each other, and that, my friends, is truly remarkable,” Komo said.

The presentation of the awards was preceded by a slide show presentation of great moments of Dr. King’s life. The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, of which Dr. King was a member, performed in his honor.

The event featured speaker Terri Harris Reed, vice provost for diversity and inclusion, and closing remarks by Michael Tapscott, director of the Multicultural Student Services Center.

The Voice Gospel Choir concluded the event with a selection of two songs, including the unofficial national black anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

This blog was updated on January 23, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly quoted Komo’s remarks at the event. We apologize for this error.

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Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 12:24 p.m.

Rice Hall rumba

A group of the University’s top administrators let loose Friday, dancing in their office with South Africa’s Bokamoso Youth Centre group.

University President Steven Knapp, Provost Steven Lerman, and Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa can be seen dancing in Rice Hall with the group, who is visiting Washington for a cultural exchange program.

Check out the video below.

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