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Mount Vernon

A University fundraising official will take his talents to the “real Mount Vernon,” as the new senior vice president for development at George Washington’s estate in Virginia, according to a release from the estate.

Joe Bondi, a two-time alumnus, most recently served as the assistant vice president for development, campus and community. Before that, he filled multiple positions in the development office in his 15 years as a GW employee.

“Bondi will join Mount Vernon’s management team in shaping the strategic direction for Mount Vernon’s future success,” the release reads. “He will oversee the planning and execution of the philanthropic strategy supporting the preservation and maintenance of George Washington’s beloved home.”

Bondi was a key player in the development office during the $1 billion capital campaign, which launched in 2014 and is expected to reach its goal this June.

He managed fundraising units like the Parents Campaign, GW Athletics, the GW Museum and Textile Museum, the GW Libraries and the Division of Student Affairs, as well as oversaw fundraising in the Power & Promise scholarship fund, The GW Hatchet, GW Hillel and veteran initiatives, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Dean of Students Peter Konwerski tweeted last month congratulating Bondi on his new position.

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The forensic sciences department will move into newly renovated classrooms in a Mount Vernon Campus residence hall this fall, giving the department more breathing room to hire more faculty.

An interior design studio in Somers Hall will be converted into office space and a new laboratory for the department. It will also house advanced technology that measures masses of atoms and molecules, known as mass spectrometry.

Graduate students and faculty will use the equipment for forensic chemistry, trace evidence, forensic DNA studies and forensic toxicology studies. The 1,000-square foot space will also accommodate new faculty hires, part of an expansion that began in 2012.

GW’s forensic sciences department is one of the largest in the nation, said Victor Weedn, the department’s head.

“We are very proud and excited to bring our students into this new universe of mass spectrometry. We recognize that mass spectrometry is a really key technology for the future of forensic sciences,”  Weedn said. “The department needed to grow to achieve its next level of excellence.”

The Acheson Science Center on the Vern is also awaiting an expansion. It will soon house more classroom space for the departments of biology and forensic sciences.

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Buildings on the Mount Vernon Campus are prone to power outages during major storms because the campus’s power lines are above ground, unlike on the Foggy Bottom Campus.

The University brought extra generators to the Mount Vernon Campus this weekend to make sure it does not lose power when Hurricane Sandy hits the District early next week.

As the storm moves closer to touching ground, Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said GW is taking extra precautions for the Vern, which loses power during most major storms.

“Because of the city’s power grid, we seem to always have a problem with the Mount Vernon campus. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we brought in extra generators for that campus,” Darnell said Saturday night.

Darnell added that “critical facilities” on the Foggy Bottom Campus already had backup generators.

The University will confer with the National Weather Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency and other D.C. agencies Sunday before announcing any campus closures.

GW will also announce any changes to the Vern Express shuttle service on Sunday through an Infomail and social media.

“I feel pretty confident we will be able to get word out about what plans will be,” Darnell said.

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Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 4:51 p.m.

Free apples mark the fall season

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Zoe Mackay

Autumn has officially begun at GW.

To mark the season, GW hosted Apple Day, an annual tradition distributing free apples to students and staff.

About 6,000 apples are sitting in bushels in various locations on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses, including the Marvin Center, Duques Hall, and the Lerner Health and Wellness center.

GW hosts Apple Day “to build a sense of community and to celebrate the fall season by offering a healthy snack to students, faculty and staff on their way to work and class,” Kathryn Bugg, executive director of University events, said.

For the first time this year, Whole Foods is sponsoring the event, which is coordinated by the Office of University Events.

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The day after Thanksgiving, when most GW students were still away from campus, some students who never left for the break sat down to a traditional Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings.

The seventh annual Mount Vernon campus Post-Thanksgiving dinner was held Friday, providing a free meal for students who did not go home – no matter the reason why – as well as their guests.

Jenn Solt, the associate director of Mount Vernon Campus Life, credits Dean of Freshmen Fred Siegel and other administrators for starting the free dinner.

“For students who don’t get to go home, it brings a little taste of home. It offers the opportunity for fellowship,” she said.

She and other Mount Vernon campus staff, including a community director and house proctors, joined about 30 students for the meal.

Solt said students choose not to leave for the break for different reasons. For some, it is too far to travel or too expensive.

“A lot of international students take advantage [of the dinner]. For a lot of them it’s their first American Thanksgiving,” Solt explained. Read more…

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Riders prepare to depart for the annual Mount Vernon to Mount Vernon bike tour Saturday afternoon. Becky Crowder/Hatchet photographer

Riders prepare to depart for the annual Mount Vernon to Mount Vernon bike tour Saturday afternoon. Becky Crowder/Hatchet photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Katherine Cunningham.

A group of 66 students, staff, and alumni traveled 24 miles on bikes from the Mount Vernon campus to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate on Saturday.

The trip, known as the annual Mount Vernon to Mount Vernon bike tour, led the bikers over the Key Bridge, alongside the Potomac River and through Old Town Alexandria. Now in its fourth year, the tour has grown tremendously in comparison to the first year when only seven people partook in the event.

“I greatly enjoyed the bike tour. It was an absolutely beautiful route,” freshman Josh Bochner said. “Coming from Arizona, I really like the outdoors, and this was something that almost reminded me of home. Also, I have never seen in my entire life such a vibrant fall season; this for me was a very different experience.”

The trip began around 10 a.m. and was broken up with two pit stops, where water and energy bars were provided.

Sophomore Cameron Smither said he enjoyed the trail’s character.

“It wasn’t just a boring trail…it had all these twists and turns with boardwalks and it went by the waterfront…through forests…through a city and under a tunnel. I really liked the tunnel.”

Despite a larger group than in recent years, Community Director for Mount Vernon Campus Life Kelly Carder said the trip ran much more smoothly this year because there was a lot less stopping and going throughout the ride.

Dean of Freshmen Fred Siegel, who was mingling among participants before they left the Mount Vernon campus, hopes that the bike tour will become a part of the GW tradition, especially in light of the recent death of Professor George Stephens. Stephens participated each year since it started.

Free tickets to tour the Mount Vernon grounds were given to all of the bikers. Although transportation was provided back, a couple of avid bikers chose to bike back, completing a full 48 miles in one day.

Impressed so much with the tour Bochner added, “I think I might even try the ride back next year.”

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009 3:36 p.m.

“Four-legged Friends” on the Vern

The Programming Council of Mount Vernon Campus Life brought in about a dozen dogs for students to play with today from 4:30 to 6p.m.

Soni Jaiwal, Dana Sleeper, Matthew Borges and Allison Bybee (left to right) pet Nigel, the golden retriever. About a dozen dogs were brought in to the Mount Vernon campus in an effort to reduce student stress before midterms. Viktors Dindzans/assistant photo editor

The furry friends — including a golden retriever, two black lab mixes and a couple of mutts — were located behind Merriweather residence hall on the Mount Vernon Campus. The dogs are owned by university administrators and GW community members and were brought in by their owners to help reduce student stress from midterms, a programming council representative said.

University President Steven Knapp’s wife, Diane Knapp, was present. Their dog, Ruffles, was the smallest of the group but fetched tennis balls along with the other dogs all the same.

“I think Ruffles is having just as much as fun as the students,” Knapp said. “I think this was a great idea.”

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Monday, March 2, 2009 5:31 p.m.

Vern bus hits utility pole

A Vern Express shuttle bus was involved in a single-vehicle accident at about 2 p.m. today on Foxhall Road.

Robert Snyder, managing director of Mount Vernon Campus Life, said the accident ocurred when the shuttle attempted to turn from Whitehaven Parkway onto Foxhall Road while en route to the Foggy Bottom Campus.

Snyder called the accident “minor,” but said that the driver and one passenger were taken to the hospital as a precaution. The other six passengers onboard did not report any injuries and were taken to Foggy Bottom on another bus.

The cause of the accident in unknown, but Snyder said the road was “wet and partially snow-covered.” He did not say how much damage had been done to the shuttle bus itself.

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