Virginia Government Relations

In Loudoun County and throughout the commonwealth, the George Washington University seeks to be an engaged policy partner with Virginia’s government, business and civic leaders.

Faculty and staff at GW’s Virginia Science & Technology Campus take an active role in Loudoun County government and regional boards and commissions. These include the Economic Development Commission’s education and workforce committee, the Economic Development Department CEO Cabinet and the Loudoun Convention and Visitors Association.

GW staff serves on the boards of organizations including the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and the Dulles Corridor Rail Association. They also share their insight and expertise as members of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, several area chambers of commerce, the Dulles Area Transportation Association and many other regional committees and community groups.

District Government Relations

The George Washington University works closely with the government of the District of Columbia to not only promote our community-based interests but also to inform local policy with cutting-edge innovations and ideas. We hold regular briefings for our city leaders to share our expertise and advice on pressing local issues.

As the University’s most effective ambassadors, GW students cultivate relationships in the local government, too. Each year on “D.C. Government Day,” GW student leaders undergo training on the district’s history, culture, politics and issues and then visit the offices of the mayor, city council and our member of Congress. These meetings not only afford personal introductions but they lead to opportunities for internships, community service and even careers in city government.

Policy Expertise & Testimony

As an institution deeply invested in the district’s welfare, the George Washington University marshals its expertise to comment on proposed laws and regulations and to help shape the polices and programs that benefit every D.C. citizen.

Our faculty members are at the forefront of their fields and frequently contribute their policy expertise and testimony to legislative committees and regulatory bodies. 

Federal Government Relations

From a prime vantage point at the heart of the nation’s capital, the George Washington University plays an active role in influencing, informing and actively observing the federal government.

Our expert faculty members—including many former and current senior government officials—work closely with federal agencies, testify at congressional hearings and convene dynamic discussions among both government and university leaders to advance groundbreaking policies and programs.

From special events on campus to brownbag luncheons on Capitol Hill, our federal outreach sustains strong relationships between federal government officials and GW’s alumni, students and faculty. GW also looks for ways to collaborate with the federal government on important research priorities. And it seeks to inform decision makers about policies that will give our students and faculty the best opportunities to learn.

Virginia Science & Technology Campus Community Relations

From our Virginia Science & Technology Campus in Loudoun County to our programs throughout the state, GW’s faculty and students—and the more than 40,000 GW alumni that make Virginia their home—strive to be a positive community resource in the Commonwealth.

Local residents come to VSTC to take classes, volunteer and use the public areas of our library. The campus also hosts the meetings and events of numerous community groups, including the Small Business Development Center, area chambers of commerce, local public schools, Sustainable Loudoun and the Loudoun Photography Club.

GW’s VSTC library is a designated Foundation Center Cooperating Collection. As a result, local grant writers can access a free, comprehensive, searchable online database of more than 92,000 grantmaking foundations and charities in the United States. They also can take advantage of a collection of publications about grant proposals and grant makers as well as a series of workshops focused on searching for funds and writing successful proposals.

For more information about the VSTC, please visit: http://www.gwvirginia.gwu.edu/.

Mount Vernon D.C. Campus Community Relations

From free summer movies on The Vern to use of the Eckles Library, The George Washington University’s Mount Vernon Campus offers a wide array of resources to our neighbors in the district’s Palisades area. Neighbors takes full advantage of Mount Vernon’s meeting space for both community events and private social occasions. Area residents also can enjoy fitness classes free of charge or join the outdoor pool or tennis center at a reduced membership rate. Neighbors age 60 and over can audit a class for the same low price afforded to GW alumni.

The Mount Vernon Campus partners with community-based organizations as well. It works with the Palisades Village to provide volunteer services that help elderly residents age in place, sharing our faculty’s expertise in gerontology, nursing, nonprofit management and more to help launch the program. D.C. Stoddert Soccer, the School Without Walls, the Field School and St. Patrick’s Episcopal School all play organized sports on Mount Vernon’s athletic fields. And every year since the 1940s, the Mount Vernon Campus has participated in the Palisades Citizens’ Association 4th of July Parade, entering a float and providing parking for the event.

Our mutually beneficial relationship with the community stems from constant outreach. We host quarterly public meetings to hear about our neighbors’ interests and concerns. Through our Office of Community Relations, we make sure we respond to neighbors’ comments, inquiries and emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Events

From coffeehouses to “Wacky Wednesdays,” the George Washington University’s Mount Vernon Campus has something for everyone, students and neighbors alike. Our monthly e-newsletter alerts the community to special cultural events and several celebrations that take place every year.

Octoberfest – Held every fall during Colonials Weekend, this family event features music, pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, games, seasonal desserts, contests and more.

Films on the Vern – GW’s free summer film series takes place every Wednesday night on the Mount Vernon Campus quad or, when it rains, in the Eckles Library Auditorium.

Free Yoga Class – Spring is time for free yoga for all—regardless of ability—sponsored by GW’s Campus Recreation Department. Weekly classes are held in the Hand Chapel on Foxhall Road.

Foggy Bottom/West End Community Relations

The George Washington University has forged a strong sense of community with our Foggy Bottom neighbors, launching a variety of partnerships that underscore shared interests and needs. Through the neighborhood’s FRIENDS group, which was formed in 2002 with little more than a vague goal of establishing a positive dialogue between the University and the community, we facilitate open communication and cooperation. Today FRIENDS has grown to over 400 participants who collaborate on the annual Foggy Bottom/West End Neighborhood Block Party and other community programs and events.

GW also sponsors a Neighborhood web site, designed from a neighbor’s perspective as an avenue for discovering our programs and services, notices of community events, updates on campus development and contacts for inquiries. And our Discover GW pocket guide lists dozens of resources for our Foggy Bottom/West End neighbors. These include library access, free technology, training and assistance and a course audit program. For more information on Community Relations, to receive Discover GW and to be added to the Friends listserv, please email discover@gwu.edu.

Events

The George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom/West End Campus is home to dozens of events that build community and forge friendships among students, faculty and our neighbors. For many annual celebrations, the planning is half the fun. 

Annual Neighborhood Block Party – Every October, GW hosts a block party, planned together with our Foggy Bottom/West End neighbors. In past years, more than 3,000 guests and 120 vendors joined in, creating a festival of live entertainment, free food and services—such as health screenings offered by GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences students and staff.

Spring BBQ – GW launches barbeque season each May with an outdoor gathering of neighbors, city officials and GW students and staff. City council members serve as “celebrity grill masters,” serving up barbeque for more than 120 attendees. The barbeque also features “Winning Neighbor” awards given to students nominated by community members for helping them in some way throughout the academic year.

Senior Prom – This cross-cultural, multigenerational celebration has become a great GW tradition, gathering 250 senior citizens from across the district for dinner, dancing and entertainment. Led by more than 120 student volunteers, the prom is a collaboration by GW’s Office of Community Service and Office of Government, International and Community Relations office, D.C. agencies such as the Department of Aging and the Department of Parks and Recreation and members of the D.C. City Council.

Generating Economic Activity

The George Washington University is an economic engine as well as an academic and cultural resource for the Washington area. More than 2,000 faculty members and nearly 20,000 students make their academic home at our Foggy Bottom/West End and Mount Vernon campuses. In excess of 21,000 GW alumni live and/or work in the District. Providing more than 13,000 D.C.-based full-time and part-time jobs—including jobs for student employees—GW consistently ranks among the district’s top private employers.

As a result, GW’s broad, profound and positive impact on the District of Columbia’s economy carries an estimated value of close to $1 billion a year. That, in turn, spurs additional indirect economic activity totaling more than $285 million. The University spends about 70 percent of its budget in the district, through a combination of salaries for thousands of local employees; academic research projects; purchases and payments to district-based vendors; educational programs; student support services; and taxes.

Serving Communities in Need

The George Washington University creates and participates in public service and civic engagement efforts that take full advantage of our knowledge and ability to respond to educational, health and social needs. Whether joining established service programs or launching our own signature efforts, GW cultivates a strong spirit of community engagement.

GW students contribute over 150,000 volunteer hours per year through dozens of community partnerships, such as The Neighbor’s Project, SJT Scholars and DC Reads. The Princeton Review counts GW among the nation’s top socially aware schools in “Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement.”

Investing in a Vibrant City

The George Washington University makes enormous contributions to the social and economic fabric of the District of Columbia, partnering with the city to enrich the quality of life in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and beyond. With the rise in the university’s stature, GW is committed to ensuring that the district shares in its success.

Working with our neighbors, GW earned broad-based support for our 20-Year Foggy Bottom Campus Plan to redevelop the former GW Hospital site, into the Avenue, a vibrant gathering place—a model of mixed-use, transit-oriented development. The project’s community amenities include a neighborhood grocery store, public courtyard, pedestrian retail plaza, environmentally friendly design (including more than a half-acre of green-roof components) and affordable housing.

In addition to these physical amenities, GW’s diverse programs enhance the community’s security and emergency-response capabilities, nurture artistic talent and stimulate cultural exchange. We also sponsor major athletic events in 23 intercollegiate sports and provide public affairs seminars both live and on the air. 

A Community of Learning

The George Washington University inspires and nurtures a community of learning, with ten schools and colleges spanning the breadth of scientific and social understanding. Our faculty and students draw upon the city’s rich array of institutions and resources, from the World Bank to the Smithsonian Institution, while giving back to the community through collaboration and professional practice. For example:

  • GW law students train in the school’s nine clinics, advancing the rights of consumers, immigrants, patients and others by taking on cutting-edge and precedent-setting cases.
  • GW’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership blends academic research with real-world experience as it trains city agency managers and community leaders who advance social progress for the District of Columbia.