In response to Olivia Libowitz’s story “Senior Disappointed by Threat to WC Tradition” in the Feb. 1 edition of The Elm, we’d like to clarify some of Ms. Libowitz’s statements and answer some of her questions.
Student Affairs re-structured the first-years’ Mount Vernon trip (which was started in 2011) two years ago. After five years of doing this trip, we averaged fewer than 60 percent of first-years attending. Ms. Libowitz is correct in that many who went did enjoy the trip, but it was also costly. In consultation with the Peer Mentors, we decided to scale back the trip to Mt. Vernon, making it an optional trip for Presidential Fellows and George’s Brigade students to ensure that those who were attending truly wanted to go. We then re-allocated the savings to our expanded pre-orientation programs, which have demonstrated great impact and positive outcomes for our incoming students. If the interest in going to Mt. Vernon grows, we will review the trip to see how we can expand the opportunity to every first-year student who would like to go.
As for the graduating class’s trip to Mount Vernon and cruise aboard the Spirit of Mount Vernon, rest assured that it is still happening and is scheduled this year for Thursday, May 17. As usual, George Washington will be in attendance to toast our senior class.
The broken website link was precisely that—a link broken during a recent server migration, which has since been repaired—not an effort to “quietly phase out” this well-deserved and popular event for our seniors. (The web team very much appreciates that the broken link was brought its attention; it helped them find and fix additional broken links on that and other pages.)
We sincerely appreciate Ms. Libowitz’s thoughts on the importance of tradition on our campus and agree that the Mt. Vernon senior event and Birthday Ball are two great examples. We hope this clarifies any questions regarding this Washington College tradition about which Ms. Libowitz and so many other students care so much.
Sarah Feyerherm, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Gina Ralston ‘04
Director of Campus Events, President’s Office