News and Analysis

American University’s acceptance rate dropped 11 points to 35 percent this year, a significantly lower acceptance rate than GW’s for the Class of 2019.

American University – one of GW’s peers – accepted 5,867 students this year and plans on enrolling 1,600 freshman this fall according to The Eagle, the university’s student paper. American University accepted 46 percent of applicants last year.

GW accepted 45 percent of applicants this year, the highest acceptance rate in more than a decade.

More than 16,700 students applied to American University this year, a bump of 11 percent from the year before, The Eagle reported. The total number of students admitted dropped by more than 1,000 students from 6,933 last year.

Administrators say the bump in GW’s admission rate can help increase tuition revenue while departments face budget cuts. The University has one of the highest admission rates among its 14 peer schools, and hopes to boost its freshmen class by 100 to 150 students.

Boston University, another peer school, admitted 32 percent of students this year. Georgetown University’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2019 was 16.4 percent and Duke University admitted 9.4 percent of regular-decision applicants.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Kiara Bhagwanjee.

Student members and directors of mental illness recovery programs at universities from across the country met at GW on Thursday to discuss what peers, families and administrators can do to help students dealing with mental health issues.

GW Students for Recovery hosted the panel discussion, which members had been planning since October. Each speaker had experienced the shortcomings of college counseling programs, and they emphasized major elements of successful on-campus support programs for students recovering from mental illness or substance abuse.

Students and experts said these are the best practices for universities to use to help recovering students:

Panelists discussed the best programs for college students recovering from mental illness. Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Panelists discussed the best programs for college students recovering from mental illness. Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer

1. Peer support systems

Ivana Grahovac, the executive director of Transforming Youth Recovery and the panel moderator, said peer support is the “hallmark” of the collegiate recovery model.

“It’s so important for our community supporters to know that support will propel us upwards,” Grahovac said. “It’s so important for us to have that support in those early months and years as we’re just starting to turn the tide against the inertia that is inherent in these rigid, monolithic institutions.”

Robert Ashford, a recovery program director at the University of North Texas, said a community of peers is key during recovery. Ashford said he had difficulty finding support during his undergraduate years and emphasized the importance of building a community for students who are seeking support.

“Those allies, whether they are students or family members, grow our program for us. They were our biggest momentum in growing the size of it,” Ashford said.

2. University-wide support for recovery programs

Sarah Nerad, a recovery program manager at Ohio State University, said schools need to “buy in” for a program to last on campus.

“If I’m constantly trying to fight to keep the doors open, I then can’t work with students, and that totally defeats the purpose of the program,” Nerad said.

“That’s what we do. We tell people we believe in you, and we support them and we challenge them, and they thrive,” she said.

3. Giving students a space of their own

Members of Students for Recovery and Jason Whitney, a recovery program coordinator at Pennsylvania State University, are looking at universities like GW to provide independent recovery organizations with their own spaces on campus.

“To help universities get these recovery programs going, there’s a lot of different ways to get there, but eventually what a community recovery program needs is a dedicated space on campus,” Whitney said.

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The Historic Preservation Review Board designated most of the Corcoran Gallery of Art as a historic landmark Thursday. Hatchet file photo.

The Historic Preservation Review Board designated most of the Corcoran Gallery of Art as a historic landmark Thursday. Hatchet file photo.

Updated: April 24, 2015 at 5:17 p.m.

The Historic Preservation Review Board designated most parts of the interior of the Corcoran’s 17th Street building as historic landmarks on Thursday, the Washington Post reported.

The designation adds an additional review and approval process of building permit applications, and could limit the changes GW officials are able to make to the space.

Officials had hoped the designation would only extend to the “ceremonial spaces” in the building like the atrium and the rotunda. After the board’s decision, almost all of the building – excluding the basement, auditorium and first-floor galleries – will be historic, the Post reported.

GW took over the building as part of a merger with the Corcoran College of Art + Design last winter.

University President Steven Knapp said in July that GW would spend about $80 million to renovate the building, including bringing the 17th Street building up to code, adding more bathrooms and shifting around classrooms and gallery space.

Last month, the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission backed the D.C Preservation League’s efforts to protect the building.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the interior of the Corcoran’s 17th Street building would be designated as historic. Portions of the building would be designated as historic. The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the parts of the building designated as historic cannot be renovated. The designation brings an additional review process. We regret these errors.

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Frank Sesno, the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and founder of Planet Forward, welcomed guests to the Feeding the Planet Summit in the Jack Morton Auditorium. Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Frank Sesno the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and founder of Planet Forward, welcomed guests to the Feeding the Planet Summit in the Jack Morton Auditorium. Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Noah Olsen.

An Earth Day summit Thursday brought together students and professionals in agriculture and climate change to talk about hot-button issues in sustainability, including genetically modified organisms and world hunger.

The Feeding The Planet Summit was hosted by School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno and featured scientists, agriculturists and other sustainability experts to talk about their fields of study.

Here are summaries of some of the key discussions:

1. The future of food

After quick opening remarks, Sesno introduced Krysta Harden, the deputy secretary of the agriculture, to lead a discussion on the future of food and the steps the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking to ensure sustainability in food production with rapidly increasing populations.

Harden began by sharing the story of her father’s lifetime of hard work as small Georgia peanut farmer and emphasized how her upbringing made her realize the importance of farmers in America.

“Is there not a greater honor than feeding people?” Harden said.

Harden also discussed the every day threats farmers face, like climate change. She said drought costs the U.S. about $50 billion between 2011 and 2013.

2. Conversations with a hunger fighter

In a separate panel, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., discussed his efforts to eradicate hunger during his time in Congress.

“We know how to end hunger. It’s not that hard,” he said. “I don’t know how to end all wars, but we all know how to end hunger.”

He added that the nation has the resources to end hunger, but the political system is preventing it from happening.

3. The next generation of hunger fighters

After his talk on his own efforts to combat hunger, McGovern moderated a panel discussing what the next generation of leaders is doing to combat hunger. Students from American, Iowa State and Ohio State universities joined McGovern to discuss their ventures to eradicate issues related to hunger.

Maria Rose Belding, a freshman at American University, founded the Matching Excess And Needs for Stability Database, a website designed for food banks around the country to communicate and share resources.

Belding describes the database as a “Craigslist for food banks.”

4. Farmers, science and the sustainability story

The morning finished with a conversation between Sesno and Monsanto Company Vice President Michael Frank, the largest producer of planting seeds in the world.

While Frank defended the importance and scientific reasoning behind the use of genetically modified seeds, Sesno challenged him using the popular opinion that the health repercussions of GMOs are unknown and that they also have the potential to create dangerous mutated crops.

Sesno asked why GMOs are so villainized by the public and news media, and Frank responded by discussing the science supporting the use of GMOs.

“There has been more than four and a half billion acres of GMO seed planted around the world,” Frank said. “There’s been over a trillion meals served with GMO improved grains and there’s not one health issue.”

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Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski, partakes in the activities at the Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski, partakes in the activities at the Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Clara Lishan Ong.

GW’s top officials got some fresh air during Earth Day on Wednesday to speak while students and representatives from sustainability companies mingled under a big white tent in Kogan Plaza.

The Earth Day Fair invited student organization leaders, community leaders and companies to promote their causes. Prominent administrative figures and sustainability leaders on campus each offered more information about sustainability at GW.

“GW wants to teach sustainability and also walk the talk,” said Provost Steven Lerman. “200 faculty self-identify as working on sustainability-related projects.”

Here’s what you missed while you were tending to your compost bin:

1. Prioritizing sustainability

Lerman pointed out economics professor Ram Fishman, who is involved in projects to reduce energy and waste at residence halls.

Lerman added that civil and environmental engineering professor Rumana Riffat takes her students on field trips to wastewater treatment plants to “help them make the actual connection between the theory of waste treatment and its actual practice.”

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz rounded up the University’s current projects to stay sustainable.

“We have more than 30 buildings under renovation for the Eco-Building Program. We are composting dining hall food, building community gardens and growing edibles,” Katz said. “Sustainability is really a comprehensive effort.”

Katz also mentioned the Capital Partners Solar Project, which provides solar power to GW, American University and GW Hospital. The solar farm in North Carolina will power more than 50 percent of GW’s electricity.

Kathleen Merrigan, the executive director of sustainability, went up to the podium to talk about GW’s academic sustainability programs.

“GW has one of the most politically active student bodies, so you should use your studies and maximize what you know to shake up the world,” Merrigan said.

Students engaged with organizations focused on sustainability from the D.C. area, featured in the annual Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Students engaged with organizations focused on sustainability from the D.C. area, featured in the annual Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

2. Green Leaf courses

Lerman wants to bring sustainability back into the classroom, too.

“Apart from student organizations, we hope that students can also get involved academically,” Lerman said.

GW has about 400 undergraduate and graduate level courses that have to do with sustainability, he said. GW offers a minor in sustainability, which started in 2012.

3. Student contest winners announced

Meghan Chapple, the director of GW’s sustainability office, announced four winners to the Eco-Equity challenge, which launched in January to encourage students to partner with local community organizations and solve environmental issues.

“Sustainability also has a social equity aspect,” Chapple said. “Often, environmental issues have a higher burden on poor people. There are a plenty of environmental justice issues in the areas of food distribution, trash and toxic pollution for instance.”

One of the four winning projects this year is Project Lily Pad, which is partnering with Living Classrooms and D.C. Public Schools to design and build wetland islands to promote environmental education and preserve the Anacostia River along Kingman Island.

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Congressman Seth Moulton spoke in the Marvin Center amphitheater Tuesday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer.

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., spoke in the Marvin Center Amphitheater on Tuesday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer.

Updated: April 24, 2015 at 12:16 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Laura Whaling.

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., spoke to students in an event hosted by the GW College Democrats on Tuesday in the Marvin Center Amphitheater about the importance of new leaders in Washington.

The first-term congressman from Massachusetts, who served in the Iraq War before entering politics, defeated nine-term incumbent John F. Tierney in the primary election last year before winning the seat in November.

Missed the event? Here are the main topics Moulton discussed.

1. Why Moulton ran for Congress

Moulton said he wanted to run after seeing the consequences in Iraq, which he said resulted from inadequate leadership in Washington. He said he knew the race would be difficult.

“Every single day of that race, I was told I would not win,” he said.

Moulton said he continued with his campaign because he believed in his mission and said his plans would challenge the status quo.

2. Working across the aisle

Moulton said he entered Congress with the idea that his colleagues were attempting and failing to work with Republicans, but soon realized that fellow Democrats were not reaching across the aisle. By meeting with conservative politicians and attempting to find common ground, Moulton said he has succeeded in getting more done.

“If you develop a personal relationship, you can then operate on a professional one,” he said.

3. The importance of government involvement

Moulton said he wanted students to learn the importance of government involvement and the need for a new generation of leaders. He said the future of the country lies with this generation and not just figures from the past.

“Our generation’s voice matters,” Moulton said. “We need your perspectives.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Rep. Seth Moulton’s family did not support his run for Congress. Moulton’s family was not supportive of his decision to join the Marines. We regret this error.

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Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz spoke in Lisner Auditorium Tuesday as part of Greek Grand Chapter. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer.

Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz spoke in Lisner Auditorium Tuesday as part of GW Greek Life’s Grand Chapter event. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Melissa Schapiro.

Eleven-time Olympic swimming medalist Mark Spitz told members of the Greek community about his athletic success Tuesday evening during the annual Grand Chapter in Lisner Auditorium.

Spitz, who was a member of Phi Kappa Psi at Indiana University, shared his stories with about 150 students at the event. Roll call of all the chapters was taken at the beginning of the event, and members responded with whoops, hollers and pre-planned cheers.

Didn’t make the event? Here are the three biggest takeaways:

1. Experiences from the Olympics

Spitz discussed his iconic mustache, saying he kept it because he realized his competitors were focusing on how strange it was rather than thinking about how to beat him in the pool. He said he tricked the Russian coach into believing it was a strategy to deflect the water from entering his mouth.

“At the next Olympics all the Russian swimmers had mustaches,” he said.

Spitz also detailed the famous Adidas incident at the 1972 Olympics, where he proudly waved his shoes in the air after the medal ceremony. He explained that he hadn’t had time to fully cool down between the race and the ceremony and was still holding his shoes when someone instructed him to wave to the crowd. The Russians saw the act as product placement, but Spitz denied the allegations and the International Olympic Committee cleared Spitz of any bad behavior.

2. Thoughts on success

At one point, Spitz asked the audience if they thought the Wright brothers could fly a 747 airplane. He took count of audience members who raised their hands yes and those who raised their hands no. But, after taking a count, he said he didn’t care about their responses – just that they responded at all.

Spitz said he wanted to illustrate how the majority of people are afraid of being wrong and don’t attempt to answer. He said that the approximately 15 percent of people who do raise their hands in similar scenarios are the people who will earn the most money and make most of the decisions for the rest of the population.

“You become successful from allowing yourself to fail,” he said.

3. Ties to Greek life

Spitz said he was intrigued by the competitive atmosphere of Greek life and said that it gave him opportunities to meet people he wouldn’t have otherwise. He said some problems faced by members of Greek life are problems that exist in every other sector of life and must be monitored.

“The Greek system needs a set of guidelines and a designated sort of cop to enforce them,” he said.

He added that picking on others isn’t right and there needs to be a set of consequences for guilty parties immediately after incidents occur.

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Updated: April 22, 2015 at 9:40 a.m.

GW has sold the Fillmore building to a nonprofit called the S&R Foundation, the University announced Tuesday afternoon.

The S&R Foundation supports individuals in the arts, sciences and social entrepreneurship, with an eye toward increasing international partnerships in those fields, according to a release. The Georgetown building, which was acquired by GW as part of its merger with the Corcoran College of Art + Design last year, will be turned into a space for aspiring artists, representatives from both parties said in a release.

TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, the firm tasked with selling the property, had hoped to sell the building for about $14 million when it went on the market in January. University spokeswoman Candace Smith said because the contract for the sale likely won’t be signed until this summer, the amount GW will receive won’t be finalized until then.

Sachiko Kuno, the president and chief executive officer of the S&R Foundation, said in a release that officials at the nonprofit are hope to support local artists, “especially those from underserved communities.”

“Through S&R’s expansion of arts education at the Fillmore School, we will continue S&R’s commitment to supporting excellence in artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship in an environment that encourages international collaboration,” Kuno said.

Funds from the sale will go toward programs in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and help cover costs to renovate the Corcoran’s 17th Street building, where many of the school’s classes are held. University President Steven Knapp said last summer that the renovation costs would total about $80 million.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that TRR Sotheby’s International Realty was the listing agent for the Fillmore building. The company is called TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. We regret this error.

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The Interfraternity Council elected a new president Monday night after Tim Stackhouse, the group’s former president, resigned earlier that day.

The IFC unanimously elected Keaton White as the group’s new leader, according to a release. White, a member of Beta Theta Pi, was the group’s executive vice president and has served on the IFC for two years.

Stackhouse said in the release that his decision to resign was “in the best interest of the IFC and the Greek community.”

“The IFC and myself share the same goals and objectives, however my personal views on how to achieve these goals differ from that of the presidents council,” he said in the statement

Stackhouse, a member of Sigma Nu, said he supports White’s election as the IFC and Greek chapters “continue to strive for excellence.”

“I know he is personally dedicated to our community and will guide the council to the completion of the IFC’s goals,” Stackhouse said.

Stackhouse did not respond to a request for additional comment.

The IFC is made up of a seven-member board and the chapter president of each of the 14 fraternities.

White said in an email that Stackhouse stepped down “on a positive note.”

“The entire Greek community expressed their deepest gratitude for his semester of dedicated service to GW,” White wrote. “On a personal note, Tim is a great friend and I have the utmost respect for him and his decision.”

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GW Hospital received two out of five stars in a Medicare ranking of D.C. hospitals, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Medicare’s Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems ranked the major hospitals in the city, and gave none of the facilities five stars. Only 7 percent of hospitals ranked nationwide received five-star ratings.

The ranking system is based on 11 different aspects of patients’ experience while at the hospital, including the responsiveness of the hospital staff, if their pain was well managed and whether they would recommend the hospital, according to Medicare’s website.

A spokeswoman at GW Hospital did not immediately return a request for comment.

Georgetown University Hospital received a three-star ranking. Other two-star hospitals included Howard University Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Providence Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital, the Post reported.

United Medical Center in Southeast D.C. received one star, the lowest ranking.

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