The relationship between the George Washington University and the residents of Foggy Bottom and the West End is a complicated one. A great deal of negative history regarding GW’s expansion resulted in litigation and in a very strong “us versus them” mentality. It is the current FBA’s philosophy that a positive relationship between the neighborhood and the university benefits everyone.
As the university has grown, permanent residents have experienced challenges. These include increased noise, trash, competition for parking spaces, and – to a lesser extent – vandalism. GW must be part of the solution.
That belief guided a group of neighbors to approach GW directly. We proceeded thoughtfully and consistently, meeting with a broad range of GW administrators. We also reached out for guidance to MPD leadership, and to our counterparts in other District neighborhoods where colleges and universities are located. We are actively involved in contributions to the University's Hand
Our advocacy has contributed to the following beneficial changes to GW policies regarding students living off campus:
1. Beginning with students entering GW in September 2014, all students are required to live on campus for three years instead of two. GW’s construction of District House, the largest dormitory on campus, helps to make that possible.
2. GW’s judicial policies have been tightened significantly. Students violating noise and trash ordinances are subject to disciplinary probation after three offenses. While specific details regarding how particular students were sanctioned are not available publicly because of the federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), student residents of several houses have been sanctioned.
The majority of GW students are law-abiding and respectful – of one another, and of the community. Yet we need to deal with that minority of individuals who cause trouble, and we need to deal with them effectively. The challenge is that new individuals move into the neighborhood at least annually, and lessons learned by student residents one year are not conveyed to student residents the next year. GW and the neighborhood cooperate to ensure students are aware of trash and noise regulations, for example.
Many neighbors believe that the university can be a positive force in the community. The FBA has developed strong working relationships with the GWU Office of Community Affairs, members of the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association, and the Multicultural Greek Council, as well as the GW Student Association. These relationships have facilitated cooperation on neighborhood projects, like the University's Day of Service events, where student contribute their time and amazing energy clearing leaves from the neighborhood's green spaces, dog and kid's parks and tree lawns.
If you are interested in working with the FBA to ensure a strong, positive relationship with GW and its students, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renovated Thurston Hall
Opens Fall 2022
The George Washington University completed substantial renovations to Thurston Hall on 19th and F streets NW just in time for the Fall 2022 semester.
Thurston is the largest dorm on campus, housing more than 1,000 students, more than half of whom are first years. The building had not been renovated since it was built in 1929. The university held a design competition to select an architect who would effectively address the need for historic preservation with the requirements of a 21st century college.
The new building has a light-filled atrium with plenty of common areas for students to meet, study and socialize.
More Information and resources concerning the Thurston Hall and other GWU building projects - follow the FBA newsletter and the GWU The Hatchet newsletter.
Are you experiencing trouble because of nearby student renters? Is your sleep interrupted? Have you noticed more rats because trash is mishandled? Send a note to John George, FBA President with details – including the address(es) of the property(ies).