Next Stop GW #5 - Student Support, Wellness and Safety at GW

July 01, 2020

It's July 1 and summer's unofficial midpoint. It is about the time during the summer where students and families start thinking about and preparing for the fall and the start of the academic year. As our cross-campus team finalizes plans for the fall semester, please be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more details and information that will help you prepare.

First, we know that you may be eager to know more about the fall move-in process. This year's move-in is going to be different than previous years because of the social distancing measures that we need to put in place in order to coordinate the movements of our residents and their helpers in the halls. Move-in will start earlier, in mid-August, and last 2-3 weeks. Students will be asked to sign up for a date and 3-hour time slot window for their move-in.

Soon, all first-year students will receive an email from the Campus Living and Residential Education team via [email protected] about the new move-in procedures. We do realize that students and families need to plan ahead and make travel arrangements. We encourage you to hold off on making any travel arrangements until you have the details about move-in. Shortly following the email from Campus Living, we will be sending a special edition of Next Stop GW that will include information about what to buy, bring, and pack. Take time to review both email communications carefully with family members who may be helping you with your move.

In the meantime, there is a lot of other planning and preparation happening across the campus so that we can welcome you. This edition focuses on some of our health, well-being, and safety measures to be mindful of as you begin your first year. Here's what you can expect in this edition...

  • Student health reminders
  • Focusing on your well-being while at GW
  • Navigating D.C.
  • Student Spotlight: Sophie Hirshfield
  • Introducing Thrive GW

Tune in this evening for a new episode of Real Talk GW! Hear from two students about finding balance with a busy college schedule.

Student Health Reminders

  • Immunization Forms
  • Proof of Health Insurance
    • ALL enrolled undergraduate students, including F-1 and J-1 visa-holding international students, must have health insurance coverage. These students are automatically enrolled in the GW Student Health Insurance Plan provided by Aetna Student Health. Domestic students who plan on using their current health insurance plan, for example if you are still covered by a parent or guardian's employer coverage, must waive-out of GW Student Health Insurance option each and every year. The waiver period begins August 1 and ends September 12. If you do not waive out of the mandatory health insurance plan, you will see a charge for SHIP coverage on your student account.
      • If you intend to keep your current health insurance plan, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with how your insurance coverage works outside of your geographic area (i.e. copays, deductibles, networks).
  • Alcohol Education Requirements

    All incoming students are required to complete AlcoholEdu for College: Primary, a two-part online alcohol education module that provides alcohol-risk reduction strategies and skills to support bystander intervention. Students will receive an email notification in mid-July with instructions on how to access and complete the course. Part I is due on August 30, 2020. Part II is due on October 30, 2020. Failure to to complete the course will result in a Transcript Hold. For more information contact: [email protected].

Focusing on Your Well-being

The Colonial Health Center

The Colonial Health Center, or CHC as it is known across campus, is specially trained on both the mental and physical well-being needs of adolescents and young adults. Students, you should think of CHC as a resource to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle in addition to a place to go if/when you get sick.

This fall, CHC will be operating under strict protocols outlined by the D.C. Health Department and will be offering telehealth services and limited in-person direct care visits as needed. Students can schedule a telehealth appointment with each CHC service area by calling 202-994-5300.

  1. Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff are well versed in college student mental health issues and have experience helping students with a wide range of concerns. CAPS strives to provide students with opportunities to solve problems, manage emotions, improve functioning, and develop a deeper self understanding through consultations, individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, assessments, referrals, and self-care resources.
  2. Medical Services is dedicated to providing accessible, high quality medical and psychiatric care. The medical staff offers similar services of a typical primary care practice including required immunizations, routine physicals and laboratory services, as well as, preventative consultations, evaluations, and health education. A common misperception is that students who can't travel home to see their regular primary care physician should go to the local Emergency Room here in D.C. for treatment. The medical services unit at the CHC is equipped to help.

Raise Up GW

To be well at GW is to honor the dynamic process of change and growth that involves building resilience, persistence, and positivity in the face of challenges. Raise Up GW is our well-being initiative that invites students to engage in a comprehensive well-being experience, participate in well-being activities that are supportive of holistic lifestyles, and understanding of resources and learn how to help others in need. Through our 8-dimensions of well-being, students will have the opportunity to learn more about campus resources and participate in well-being programs.

The CARE Team

At GW, we aim to create a community that cares for each other. We also recognize that sometimes it can be hard to reach out and ask for help, especially if you don't know who to turn to for assistance or which office on campus is the best to help with your situation. The CARE Team is a cross-departmental support system that recognizes that student concerns are often multi-faceted. The CARE Team is able to identify and refer students to the most appropriate service(s). This process results in students getting the support they need to persist and succeed at GW and beyond.

You can submit a request for your own well-being, or you can submit a referral for a friend, roommate, or classmate to ensure they have access to the help they may need. The CARE Team can address any challenge you may be experiencing including, but not limited to: academic, roommate conflicts, family concerns, financial issues, and mental health/well-being.

Title IX Office

The Title IX staff is available to provide support and resources for GW students, staff, and faculty experiencing or having had experienced sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence or stalking. For information about policies, resources, prevention and training, and involvement opportunities visit Title IX's Haven website.

All incoming new students are required to participate in virtually-based education and training to learn more about sexual misconduct. More information will be forthcoming to your GW email.

Any GW community member can speak to a trained volunteer 24/7 by calling the Sexual Assault Response & Consultation (SARC) team at 202-994-7222.

Office of Advocacy and Support

The Office of Advocacy & Support (OAS) is a free confidential resource for any GW community member who has experienced or been impacted by trauma, crime, and any other form of violence. The staff are committed to building a culture of care that empathetically supports, empowers, and respects your autonomy as you decide what course of action or not action is best for you.

The team can provide pro bono legal referrals, accompany you to appointments, assist with reporting, and and provide support in making decisions that are right for you. The team can be contacted at 202-994-0443 or [email protected].

Navigating D.C.

Washington, D.C. is a great city to explore, with many attractions and neighborhoods to visit. The proximity to all of the culture and resources this city has to offer is likely one of the reasons why you chose to come to GW. We encourage you to have a plan when you go out:

  • Know how you will get home that night, and
  • Let someone know where you are going, who you are with, and what time you plan to return

The Metro transit system is a great way to get around D.C. Here are some tips when utilizing services:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and never run after/next to a bus or metro car.
  • Regional commuters are serious about escalator etiquette. Stand to the right, walk on the left.
  • Become familiar with the system's COVID-19 response and their latest requirements for riding their Metrobus and Metrorail services

Rideshares are generally very common in D.C., especially in our urban downtown area. Currently, rideshare services are operating in limited capacity, as it gets closer to fall, you may want to research and review a company's safety guidelines, especially as it relates to COVID-19 safety measures. If you do request a rideshare:

  • Ask the driver his or her name before entering the vehicle instead of asking if they are here for you.
  • Compare the photo provided by the rideshare company with the driver.
  • Ensure the car you are entering matches the car and the license plate number indicated by the rideshare app.

GW offers a number of resources to help you be safe and healthy on campus. A few are listed below:

  • GW Guardian App

    • GW has a custom personal safety app through the Rave Guardian platform. GW Guardian has a number of features including Safety Timers, links to call and message the GW Emergency line, and a directory of important resources. Download on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

  • GW Safe Ride

    • Provides a free and safe ride to/from Foggy Bottom Campus residence halls and academic buildings during late night hours for students, faculty and staff who prefer to not walk alone. More information on Safe Ride hours will be available closer to the beginning of the semester. Download the GW Rider app in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

  • EMeRG (GW EMS)

    • EMeRG (GW Emergency Medical Response Group) is a student run and operated volunteer EMS agency serving the greater Foggy Bottom community and the GW Mount Vernon campus. As nationally certified EMTs, EMeRG and its members are committed to providing free pre-hospital care and transport to the GW community. If you are sick or injured on or around campus call the GW Emergency Line (202) 994-6111.

  • GW Police Department (GWPD)

    • The George Washington Police Department (GWPD) provides residential hall security and patrol services for both the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses and provides crime prevention education to the GW community. If you are in need of GWPD's services call the GW emergency line (202) 994-6111 or non-emergency line (202) 994-6110. Students: be sure to add both the emergency and non-emergency phone numbers to your phone. GWPD also encourages you to make a plan in case of emergencies.

  • GW Text and Email Alerts

    GW uses a number of tools to notify students, staff, faculty, and community members of emergency situations and safety-related information. All students will automatically receive GW email alerts. If you listed your mobile number during the admissions process, your mobile number will also automatically receive text alerts. If you would like to add a parent or family member to also receive text alerts, you can customize your GW alert settings.

Student Spotlight

Meet Sophie Hirshfield, Class of 2022

Sophie is the President of Capital Peers and is studying Global Public Health in the Elliott School of International Affairs. She hails from Marlton, NJ.

Her advice to incoming students: Become deeply involved in a couple activities you're passionate about! Many times new students (myself included) try to have an internship, be involved in 6 organizations, and hold a job all while balancing 18 credits. This gets overwhelming very quickly, so it's important to focus on what you enjoy the most!

What is Capital Peers?

Capital Peers is a student organization that works with the Office of Student Life and the Colonial Health Center to promote health and wellness on campus. Health promotion and education is extremely important; especially during the transition from high school to college as you are faced with many new challenges and experiences. GW has a ton of really great health resources, from an awesome health and wellness center to free counseling and psychological services.

Interested in learning more? Meet the 2019-2020 Capital Peers!

Thrive at GW

This fall, the Office of Student Life in the Division for Student Affairs will be launching Thrive GW, a new initiative which pairs each incoming GW student with a staff Guide. The program is designed to help you orient to and engage with the GW community, and to help find the necessary support to foster a successful GW experience. Your Guide will serve as a trained, experienced, and enthusiastic "anchor" to help you connect to GW. Guides will serve as coaches, role models, and referral agents to introduce you to the Washington, DC community and to GW student life.

Here are a few highlights of the program:

  • Students and guides will be matched based on personal, academic, and career interests, backgrounds, and other identities.
  • You will be connected with your Guide in August - be on the lookout for communication to your GW email address from your Guide in the coming weeks!
  • You can expect to touch base about once a month, on average, during the academic year although guides may be contacted at any point if you have a question.

Please complete the student interest form by July 31, 2020 to tell us more about you in order to help us match you with a guide.

If you have any questions about Thrive GW, please email us at [email protected].