At CI, our award-winning orientation program, you’ll visit GW with your families to learn more about what life as a Colonial is like. From staying in residence halls to sessions on how to succeed, to registering for your first semester of classes and meeting your first Colonial friends, CI is an experience you won’t forget.
We don't just celebrate every four years —
GW journeys are filled with milestones,
and even our traditions are monumental.
At GW, we know history. Founded in 1821 through an Act of Congress, we have fulfilled George Washington’s vision of an institution in the nation’s capital dedicated to educating and preparing future leaders. Our students have shaped and celebrated the quintessential moments that make the GW experience truly unique. As our bicentennial quickly approaches, our traditions rooted in history gain momentum and will show you why you chose GW, from the first day you’re here until the last.
Where You'll Start
After move in, we welcome all new and returning students to celebrate arriving to campus and starting the new academic year at First Night. There are many activities, food and even a movie on University Yard. Plus, there's no better way to start your time at GW than by meeting thousands of your fellow Colonials.
Our students embody the spirit of service. We officially welcome you to GW during Freshman Day of Service, a day where you'll give back across Washington, D.C., with your entire class. Whether you're planting gardens or repainting schools, your service counts at GW.
Represent the Best of George Washington
The Colonials always have a monumental home court advantage because our stands are full of raucous fans loyal to GW, led by our fearless mascot George. Join the Colonial Army or a group of your friends to cheer on the basketball teams in the Smith Center, sports like soccer and lacrosse on Mount Vernon or any of our 27 Division 1 teams as they compete across the city.
Service is a key part of the GW community—in the 2015-2016 academic year, the GW community contributed more than 658,000 hours of community service. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is our marquee day of giving back. Our students honor Dr. King’s legacy by spreading out across the region to create literacy materials for kids, paint high schools or make bracelets for soldiers. Our students use this day to make an impact.
Their motorcade might make you late to class, but you’ll still want to celebrate the next President of the United States at a once-in-a-lifetime event. The GW Inaugural Ball is a chance for you to celebrate in style and dance the night away to welcome the new residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Each fall, the entire GW community comes to celebrate life as a Colonial. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and families join together as we showcase the best of GW with more than 50 events such as the Vern Harvest and the Foggy Bottom/West End Block Party.
A highlight of Colonials Weekend, the Vern Harvest is a chance for students, friends and families to relax and welcome the start of a beautiful season in the city. You can carve pumpkins, play games, do arts and crafts and even get your caricature done on our Mount Vernon Campus.
As a GW student you have all of D.C. at your doorstep, but we call the Foggy Bottom neighborhood home. Our community expands to our neighbors and during the annual Block Party, we get to know them better. You can try local food, watch performances and chat with the people you’ll live near.
The End is Just Your Beginning
As the only university lucky enough to hold our Commencement on the National Mall, our graduates celebrate like no one else can. You’ll take your first steps as a GW alum, listen to a world-class speaker and throw your cap in the air with the nation’s most recognizable landmarks and monuments as the backdrop.
Apart from donning your cap and gown for school celebrations and University Commencement, you can clink a glass with your classmates at the Senior Class Toast, attend Commencement Fairs and more to end your GW career on the highest note.
Each fall we welcome back thousands of GW alumni to campus during Alumni Weekend to reconnect, choose from more than 60 events and add to our Colonial spirit. Depending on the year they graduated, some alumni can participate in special reunion events.
Class of 2016
Major: Criminal Justice, Law and Society
“No better way to end an amazing four years than with POTUS flying over our celebration #gwcommencement #onlyatgw”