by Thomas Germain (

As international student enrollment continues to increase every year, higher education institutions in America are continuously challenged to design initiatives and programs to support this student population. With more than 4,000 international students enrolled, the George Washington University has risen to this challenge. Within the Center for Student Engagement (CSE), the Community Support and Leadership (CSL) team aims to support international students through advising, orientation sessions, and community building efforts.

In 2017, after an in-depth analysis of market basket institutions and a review of GW international student assessment data, the CSL team found two key issues reported by students: ...continue reading GW International Connections: Increasing Integration and Retention

Seven CSE staff members offer reflections on their experiences at the Virginia Student Services Conference, held in Wintergreen, VA on November 15-17, 2017.

Back to VSSC

by Tim Miller (

The first time I went to Wintergreen for the Virginia Student Services Conference (VSSC) was in the fall of 1998.  I was a full time staff member in the student union at James Madison University as well as a part-time graduate student and I was given the opportunity to go to the conference as part of my Master’s Program.  I attended in ’98 and ’99 and really connected with the feel of the conference and being “On the Mountain” with colleagues from across VA.  I remember the fun of staying in that environment and everything I was able to learn from people who had been in the field for a very long time.

Several years ago, I decided to bring a team from GW - or “the invaders from the North” as I called us.  I was immediately reminded why I loved VSSC once I got off the main roads and was driving on Route 29 through central Virginia and then once we started up the mountain I knew it was a good idea to return to VSSC.  We have brought a good mix of people every year since (aside from one year when we missed the conference).

VSSC gives people a chance to take a break, present to incredibly receptive and supportive colleagues, network with individuals from the area, and find ways to grow outside of our DC bubble.  I hope we will continue to be a part of VSSC for years to come and more GW community members can find their home there as well.

...continue reading VSSC: New Ideas, Skills, and Relationships

by Tim Miller (
The Store at the George Washington University

We continue to learn more about food insecurity and homelessness and how they affect the lives of our college students. This piece, Faces of Hunger in America by Mehnaz Ladha, helps identify how hunger impacts the youngest in our society and can hold them back from their potential. Her well-researched piece includes perspectives for a variety of universities who are working to support students living with food insecurity - including GW. Mehnaz examines this issue from a breadth of perspectives and shines a light on the issue and helps us consider how we can all take action to support these students. This is an important read for anyone working on this issue on their campus.

by Brittany Abraham (
"I'm proud to be first gen-because: I'm carving the path for my sisters to attend college as well."

First-generation students are an incredible asset to our community.  The George Washington University (or any other university for that matter) would not be as dynamic, diverse, or resilient without them.  First-generation students bring a unique perspective and unmatched strength to campus.  First-generation students attend the same classes as traditional students, live in the same residence halls, are perhaps in the same clubs or internships, study in similar places, but the first-generation experience is admittedly a bit different than their peers. ...continue reading Celebrating First-Generation Students Today and Every Day

by Bridgette Behling (

The Center for Student Engagement (CSE) is committed to transforming the student experience and empowering students through leadership, advising and community building. After testing a few pilot programs to support first-generation students in the 2015-2016 year, staff in GW’s Center for Student Engagement launched a portfolio of programs for first-gen students in the 2016-2017 academic year.  GW’s definition for first-generation students is aligned with the Common Application definition: an individual neither of whose parents completed a bachelor’s degree.  Staff in the CSE support first-generation student success and believe there are simple measures that can be taken to provide this population with support that will positively impact their retention and make a difference in their student experience. ...continue reading Programs for First-Generation Students at GW

by Lin Philpott (

Recently staff from GW’s Center for Student Engagement and Mental Health Services presented at the Active Minds Conference in Washington, D.C.,  about the benefits of integrated services between outdoor adventure programs and university counseling. Below are highlights from the presentation. ...continue reading Mental Health and the Outdoors

by David Marquis (

After a major renovation incorporating and expanding three existing buildings, GW opened District House in August 2016. District House is a 900-bed residence hall that offers communal spaces and retail dining on its lower two levels. The lower two levels of student space and retail dining are open to the public and managed by the Center for Student Engagement. The first year managing the District House communal space, which includes bookable conference rooms, modular furniture, a dance studio, a bike storage room, and a student food pantry, was by all accounts a success. The number of bookings, the amount of time the spaces were in use, the number of individuals and organizations impacted, and the caliber of experience offered to clients all show positive outcomes upon review. ...continue reading District Downstairs Year One Usage

In the CSE, we often present trainings and workshops for which we write curriculum. In order to learn how to write better, more intentional curriculum, Kaitlyn Schmitt attended the ACPA Program Design School in Dupont Circle on September 12-13, 2017. This two-day event, led by Erin Fischer of The Leadership and Training Studio, focused on improving curriculum-writing skills for both task-related curriculum and competency- or soft skills-based curriculum. The event was targeted for leadership development educators and professionals who write curriculum for training. ...continue reading Better Curriculum from Program Design School

In April 2017, 259 student leaders responded to the Student Organization Resources Evaluation survey. The Center for Student Engagement (CSE) used that data to make improvements to resources for student organizations, including online resources, advising, and the Excellence in Leadership Seminar (ELS). ...continue reading Student Organization Resources Evaluation Results

This blog has been created so the Center for Student Engagement and its staff can share news, updates, and insights into our field and the GW student experience.  Pieces will come from every level of our staff and will give everyone an opportunity to present their perspectives, passions, and ideas.  Posts will go up on a weekly basis and will be shared broadly so I hope you will take the time to read what our team has to say each week.

Tim Miller, Associate Dean of Students