Beltway Happenings  ...1 of 2 >
Jan. 8, 2009--George Washington University students are preparing a float for the Inaugural Parade.  Above, in a January 7 photo, GW engineering students check the characteristics of a 15-foot diameter inflated globe, which will represent the Elliott School of International Affairs on the float, to get a sense of how it might behave in the event of inclement weather. 

Student Association President Vishal Aswani and Charlie Burgoyne, Student Association executive director of programming and activities, are overseeing the project, which has a budget allocation of $85,000.  In addition to supplies, some of the money is going to housing and food for students working on the float.  At any one time as many as 20 or 30 students are assembling various aspects of the float in the parking garage of the Academic Center building, while others are out obtaining supplies.  Aswani and Burgoyne had considered outsourcing construction of the float, but that would have cost $300,000.

The float will consist of a 33-foot trolley pulling two 20-foot trailers, nicknamed "Freedom" and "Independence."  With the trailer hitches added in, the total length is 83 feet.  About 30 people will be riding the trailers and another two dozen or so will be in the trolley.  All nine schools of The George Washington University will be represented.  Burgoyne wants students and members of the GW community to see the float and recognize, "Hey, that's what I'm a part of."  He produced the initial design in the latter part of October using TurboCAD, and the proposal was submitted to the Presidential Inaugural Committee on November 14.  The design has undergone a number of minor changes to make it more fluid.

Burgoyne said the biggest challenge thus far has been gathering all the supplies needed, but they should be in hand this afternoon.  He estimated the team is about twelve hours ahead of schedule at this point.

Charlie Burgoyne (second from left) discusses the progress of the float with fellow students.

ed. notes:
Feb. 2009--Despite the tests, the globe ripped apart during a pre-parade pep rally on the evening of Jan. 19 and was replaced with an American flag.  See: Lauren French.  "Four months of work culminate as GW float rolls down Penn Ave."  The GW Hatchet.  Jan. 22, 2009.

April 2009--The final cost of the float was about $134,000.  See: Sarah Scire.  "Inaugural float cost more than $130K."  The GW Hatchet.  April 16, 2009.

Copyright © 2009  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action