Tackle The Wild with Outdoor Ed

Classes have been in session for only a couple of weeks now, but for some students the stress is already piling up. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better way to relax and get in shape than by signing up for a Georgetown Outdoor Education trip. Outdoor Ed runs the ever-popular GOPOP (Pre-orientation program) and offers day trips throughout the school year. They’re looking to expand their program, meaning more opportunities for student adventures.

We talked to a couple of GOATs (Georgetown Outdoor Adventure Trainers) about the Outdoor Ed program and their favorite trips of the year. Alex Moran (SFS ’13) is the Student Director of Outdoor Ed and Anne Kenslea (COL ’13) is an experienced GOAT; both are eager to tackle the wilderness with Georgetown students.

Q: What are your favorite trips or trips that you would recommend to a student who has never participated in a trip before?

Alex Moran: We run weekend backpacking trips to Maryland or Virginia, as well as Friday afternoon rock-climbing trips (indoor/outdoor). We’ve also been running kayaking trips during the week (weather permitting). We adjust to the changing seasons. In the fall, we may even have an apple-picking or pumpkin-picking trip! You can look forward to our very popular ski trips in the winter! Come spring time, we’ll be kayaking again and possibly planning some trips for the senior class.

Anne Kenslea: OE leads day hikes and day climbs all throughout the year, as well as kayaking trips and my personal favorite– apple picking trips! My advice to people in all years, not just freshmen, would be to grab a friend and come along for an OE day hike, kayak trip, or apple picking adventure. You get to meet new people, get some fresh air and exercise, and it’s an awesome alternative to sleeping till 1 and going to Leo’s brunch before watching Netflix in Lau all afternoon. Meeting new people, feeling healthy, and coming back with great pictures and stories to make all your friends jealous– how can you say no?

Q: How is this year going to be different than past years?

AM: This year will definitely be different from years past. Russ Watts, now the former Director of Outdoor Education, resigned at the start of the year. Our new Director is Sam Bonfield, the former Assistant Director of Outdoor Ed. The biggest change is that the GOAT class, usually taught in the fall, will now be spread out throughout the year. The fall will give new GOATS the chance to learn hard skills on a backpacking weekend. They can take Wilderness First Aid in the fall and will go through the formal GOAT class in the spring.

AK: We’re putting control of the trips back in the students’ hands, and are focusing a lot more on the recreational part of being outdoors. Rather than emphasizing the teaching of hard skills, we’re hoping to show Hoyas the more fun parts of being outdoors, and widening our audience in the process.

So get off the computer, grab your outdoor gear (which you might be able to get from the program!) and bring out your inner Bear Grylls.

Photo: https://ianshive.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/kayaks-on-the-potomac/

‘Dictator’ Commands Little Respect

Although the democratization of the Arab world continues to dominate the headlines of newspapers, brutal authoritarianism continues to plague the region, but one ruthless dictator in particular epitomizes degenerate power, Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen). The only thing more brutal than Supreme Leader Aladeen, however, is “The Dictator” — and not in a good way.

Regardless of whether or not you aced Map of the Modern World, don’t bother searching for the Republic of Wadiya, the country which Aladeen rules, since this North African country doesn’t actually exist.

Following “Borat” (2006) and “Bruno” (2009), “The Dictator” seems to fall flat in attempt to succeed the critical acclaim earned by its predecessors. Cohen portrays Aladeen with all of the absurd qualities of a despotic tyrant. Having ruled Wadiya since the tender age of seven, Aladeen seems to live a life of constant relations with American celebrities (such as Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan) and sentencing people to execution at a whim. After being forced to speak in front of the United Nations in New York City to prove that his country isn’t producing weapons of mass destruction — a blatant reference to the nuclear program in Iran — it becomes clear that one of Aladeen’s closest men is in a conspiracy to have the Dear Leader replaced with a lookalike in order to bring about an end to the dictatorship and bring about a democracy.

Although it comes at no shock that the plot is completely predictable, unlike the two former films, “The Dictator” is completely scripted — a quality that gives mockumentary-style films a certain height of excitement hardly attainable by totally scripted films. Along with the surprisingly unoriginal plot, Cohen pushes the envelope of shock humor too far with jokes that pertain to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, suicide and rape.

Cohen is known for shocking humor, from Bruno “putting a hit on Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.)” to Borat singing the “Kazakhstani national anthem” to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner” during a rodeo. However, “The Dictator” tries too hard to be what it’s not, a clever comedy and in turn, aims for shocking humor that, in the end, just disappoints and disgusts. Regardless of the funny scenes portraying Brooklyn, NY as hyper-liberal and absurdly vegan (read: hipster), Cohen doesn’t quite hit the mark. Rape is never funny.

Only a mere 83 minutes, “The Dictator” doesn’t have the opportunity to drag out too long. “The Dictator,” however, does share a particularly important quality with “Borat” and “Bruno:” Do not see this film with parents or anyone else who would be uncomfortable watching the birth of a child from the perspective of the uterus. “Are you having a boy or an abortion?” Aladeen asks his newfound American love Zoey (Anna Faris), it’s neither. “The Dictator,” a proves to be another mediocre film on par with “Scary Movie 2” (2001) and “Date Movie” (2006).

Another Heartbreaking Early Tournament Loss

Holly Morris – Annual Mascot Madness 2012 with Dave Ross: MyFoxDC.com

 Fox 5 hosted the 4th Annual Mascot Madness this morning, featuring our own Jack the Bulldog (no, not the injured one) and 14 other local mascots from the Capitals, the Nationals, American University, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and more. The tournament pitted us against Louie, the mascot of the Bowie Baysox, a Minor League baseball team in Maryland (and Mayor of LouieVille, Maryland, no less).

While Jack won the tipoff and put up the first shot, Louie made the first basket, and advanced to the second round of the tournament. Jack seemed to be a good sport, and stuck around to cheer on the other mascots in the tournament.

We could have done without the reporter’s comment about NC State though — too soon.

American University’s Clawed the Eagle (2011 Mascot Madness Champion) played the Nationals’ Screech in the championship game, with Screech taking home the trophy.

New Zoning Laws Could Help Out Down Dog Yoga

If there is one thing D.C. might have more of than cupcake shops, it’s yoga studios. However, according to current D.C. zoning regulations, some of the open studios may be in violation of the law.

After a yoga studio in Chevy Chase applied for a change to its certificate of occupancy last fall, the commission claimed that in its current location, the studio was not in compliance with zoning laws. Under current regulations, yoga studios are technically not allowed to operate in a neighborhood commercial district. Based on this rule, Down Dog Yoga on Potomac Street in Georgetown is not in line with the law.

Last week, however, the D.C. Zoning Commission proposed changes to the laws that would enable “establishments that principally offer group instruction in the performing arts, the martial arts, physical exercise, or yoga” to remain open without zoning restrictions or special permits. The proposed amendment change submitted earlier last month would allow yoga studios to set up shop in three districts, identified as CR-1 (mixed use commercial residential), C-1 (commercial) and W-1 (waterfront). Bearing the commission’s decision whether to accept or reject the amendment, the fate of some yoga studios remains up in the air.

Photo: Flickr user WelcomeOmDC

Sunday Night Wrapup: Recovering

Between March Madness and all of the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities, how could we expect anybody to keep up with the news? So while you recover from this the double whammy of a Guinness hangover and this afternoon’s devastating tournament loss, catch up on what you missed this weekend.

  • George Clooney came to town this weekend, and was arrested on Friday while protesting at the Sudanese Embassy. After paying a $100 fine, Clooney was released after a few hours in custody. And for the best —it would be a shame for America’s most handsome man to be locked up for long.
  • The iPad 3 debuted this weekend, and the line outside of Georgetown’s Apple store was a mix of eager tech fans and protestors calling for improved workers’ rights at the factory in China that produces the technology.
  • With a heartbreaking 66-63 loss to North Carolina State, the Hoyas are now out of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. If you’re having  a tough time dealing with it, our friends over at Paranoia tried to find the silver lining in the situation.
  • In happier news, our fifth-seeded women’s basketball team beat Fresno state 61-56 in their tournament opener, and will advance to the second round.

Photo: Web Leslie/The Hoya

Things to Do While Staying on Campus for Spring Break

Besides catching up on homework and (for you overachievers) getting ahead in classes, spring break is what it is – a break! For some, that means a one week cruise in the Bahamas. For others, it’s going home to momma’s home-cooked meals. But for those of you staying on campus, have no fear. There’s plenty to  explore next week. So get out there and enjoy the break you deserve.

Start the break (and the weekend) off right with some Dance Bethesda. Hit up one of the participating dance studios in downtown Bethesda for a free dance lesson or two and then join in on their free dance party. Or if you’re not into dancing, check out the DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF) located at the US Navy Heritage Center. DCIFF is one of the oldest independent film festivals in DC. With a wide selection of shorts and documentaries covering every topic to any topic, I’m sure you’ll find something that catches your eye.

In the mood for chocolate? Head on over to Fairfax, Virginia sometime over the weekend for the 2012 Chocolate Lovers Festival. The annual two-day festival includes events such a Chocolate Challenge, in which contestants create art, cakes and cupcakes out of chocolate and submit them for judging. You could be a judge (or the winner of a silent auction for one of these delicious items). Or you could participate in the Taste of Chocolate and purchase some of the finest chocolatey concoctions.

Then, after an adventurous weekend full of excursions out of the infamous Georgetown bubble, kick back and relax on campus on Monday. After all, the weatherman predicts flurries, so grab another friend who’s staying on campus and head over to Safeway before the snow starts. Pick up some food and (since no one else is using the common room), bake and make to your heart’s content.

The start of March also marks the start of Women’s History Month. Make use of Tuesday to go and honor the accomplishments of incredible American women by visiting the National Museum of Women in the Arts or the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum.

Pick a day to visit the Newseum if you haven’t already. One of Newseum’s hottest attractions is its Berlin Wall Gallery, which features sections of the original Berlin Wall. Later on during the night, check out the Flamenco Festival at George Washington University. Wednesday night presents Seville’s Rafaela Carrasco’s “Vamos al Tiroteo” and the Flamenco Festival Closing Party which features complimentary drinks and tapas from Jaleo.

The weather will be gorgeous on Thursday, so why not spend some time on Healy lawn while catching up on some homework? Take a stroll down the waterfront and maybe even finally make that run to the monuments at night that you’ve been telling yourself you’d do someday.

Friday is a shout-out to all you animal lovers. Take the train up to Baltimore and check out the National Aquarium. The aquarium has an animal feeding everyday at 2pm. Not a huge fan of creatures of the sea? It’s all good. Pay a visit to the National Zoo, where exhibits are open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day.

The weather seems to still hold up for next weekend. Why not head on over to Roosevelt Island and see the 17 foot statue of Roosevelt? There are also plenty of nature trails if you feel like going for a hike.

Finally, in the midst of welcoming friends who are flying back in from their island or home adventures, bring out the green from your closet and head on over to join in on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Constitution Avenue. The 41st annual St. Patrick’s Day parade revolves around the theme of “Feed the Soul – Nourish the Palate.”

Happy Friday and have a safe spring break!

Photo credits: Bethesda.org, WRSOL.com and Lisner.org

Georgetown – So Hot Right Now

Looks like Georgetown is making all the lists lately. From the most hipster to the preppiest, we’re all over the spectrum. Now we can add a new one to the list – Inside College has come out with a list of the hottest colleges in the nation, and we’re proud to say that Georgetown made the cut.

Unfortunately, the list has a misleading title, and it’s not referring to our really, really ridiculously good looks, but instead the university’s popularity with students. The experts over at Inside College say that the colleges on the list are “the place to be” for higher education.

Other schools that made the list of the 21 hottest colleges include Yale, NYU, Duke and our neighbors over at GW. A secondary list of “hot colleges” features the University of Chicago, Tufts and Stanford, to name a few.

Inside College doesn’t list the exact criteria their “experts” used to determine the hotness of a particular college, but we’re curious. Is it the D.C. area, with its prevalence of politicians and diplomats? Georgetown Day? Or maybe it actually does boil down to how attractive our student body is. What do you think makes us one of the hottest colleges in America?

 

Good Stuff Eatery Heading to Georgetown

by Bethany Imondi

Photo: goodstuffeatery.com

If there is one thing that D.C. might have more of than cupcakeries, it has to be deluxe burger joints. From Ray’s Hell Burger to BGR to Shake Shack, the District has its fair share of options for those carnivores looking to sink their teeth into a patty hot off the grill.

On Capitol Hill, one of the most popular spots for burgers is Good Stuff Eatery. Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars alum Spike Mendelsohnn owns the joint, which serves up gourmet burgers and shakes and  has garnered a popular fan base that even includes President Obama. Fans in Georgetown can rejoice at the news that Good Stuff Eatery could be coming locally.

Early last week Good Stuff Eatery launched a new website that seemed to confirm the restaurant’s arrival in Georgetown. The location’s page hints that the burger place could open as early as this spring, but there is no official word on its location. There are rumors that it will take residence in the space formerly home to Georgetown Wings Co.; however, a lease has yet to be signed which would finalize the deal.

So while Georgetown will have to wait at least a few more months before enjoying a Prez Obama Burger or a Michelle Melt or a hand-spun toasted marshmallow milkshake, at least we have Five Guys and Thunder Burger to satisfy burger cravings.

Housing at a Glance: Picking the Perfect Housing

With housing selection for freshmen fast approaching, there are lots of things to consider. Besides trying to find someone you are willing to live with for an entire year, you also have to consider which housing option to select. While everyone dreams of living in a Georgetown townhouse and leaving behind the days of awkward towel-covered and  flip-flop walks to/from the bathroom, there is something standing in the way: housing lottery numbers. Since there is no way to know what housing number will arrive in the inbox, it’s best to get your hopes up too high. Freshmen lucky enough to get relatively low numbers have decent chances of avoiding a communal bathrooms; with the majority of first-years, dorm life continues. For those confused about their options, take a look at our compilation of Hilltop housing.

Photo: alumni.georgetown.edu

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We’re #1!

by Michelle Cassidy

Alas, we’re not talking about the basketball team (they’re still holding out at 14 in the AP and Coaches’ polls). D.C. released its annual financial report this past Monday and Georgetown topped the list of principal employers in the District of Columbia, according to NBC Washington.

We came in first, followed by GW, Washington Hospital Center, Children’s National Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital.