On Sunday, May 6, the first ever GW Voice petition, “Change the GW Mascot” reached the 500 signatures threshold, with 514 students having added their names in favor of the petition.
This conversation, however, began long before the petition was submitted.
Over the past few months, we have witnessed a passionate, student-led movement to express concerns regarding our University’s official nickname, the Colonials. Through organized community events, discussions, and most recently the online petition, many have loudly emphasized how their student experiences at GW are impacted because of how we identify ourselves as Colonials, regardless of the intent behind the name. Their voices gain significantly more weight when our very own students studying abroad are requested not to identify themselves as Colonials out of respect to citizens of countries with colonial histories.
As Student Association President, I commit to empowering students’ voices whenever and wherever possible in the hopes of improving the GW student experience. As we seek to build a student-focused community, their voices are the most important, and should be elevated across mediums. Over the next academic year, I am excited to work with student leaders to facilitate discussions between students, alumni, staff, and administrators as we consider available options to move forward. Should legislation be brought to the full Senate floor in the next academic year, I will encourage students and members in the GW community to reach out to Senators during their office hours to ensure that your concerns are represented by our elected student leaders.
While this conversation specifically centers around the nickname, I believe it can be part of a larger movement to push our University closer toward its stated mission of creating a community “stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity and built upon a foundation of integrity, creativity and openness to the exploration of new ideas.”
Our University’s pride come