On Saturday, Dec. 15, the George Washington men's and women's water polo teams took a break from studying for exams to help honor fallen veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Colonials volunteered with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization which coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at veterans' cemeteries across the country, a tradition which began in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery.
GW head coach Scott Reed and his wife, Allison, have participated in the event for several years, and this year they asked the student-athletes to join them.
"My wife's grandfather served in World War II, so Wreaths Across America has meant something to her," Coach Reed said. "In the years that we've done this, we've seen very few students participating, and we wanted to give the student-athletes the opportunity to see Arlington National Cemetery and understand what it's all about."
The Colonials joined the 20,000 volunteers to place 110,000 wreaths on the headstones of veterans' graves.
"Participating in Wreaths Across America meant a lot to me," said junior Allison Littlejohn, who has a number of family members either currently in the military or who previously served, including her brother, father, cousin and both grandfathers. "I believe it is important to honor those who have given their lives serving our country and those who continue to risk their lives every day."
"Honoring the brave men and women who fight for our freedom by laying wreaths at their graves was an honor, and my team felt privileged to honor these fallen heroes," added junior Katherine Berry, whose grandfather served in World War II. "Seeing all of the graves with wreaths was such a beautiful sight and it shows us what Christmas is truly about."
George Washington's 2012 Atlantic 10 runner-up softball squad stepped off the field and into the kitchen to prepare meals for residents of Washington, D.C.'s Ronald McDonald House twice in the past month.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit organization that assists families with children undergoing medical treatment. The house contains 25 bedrooms and is home to many families, providing support for families seeking the best quality of life possible for children undergoing medical hardship.
Volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House can assist in a number of tasks, including cooking meals, gardening and decorating, among other household chores. The GW softball team cooked several meals for the house and decorated for the holiday season.
The first day of volunteering included stocking the kitchen with homemade chili and cornbread as well as creating a winter wonderland motif in the large family common room.
The second day included a full-scale effort as the team took on three volunteer shifts to prepare baked ziti and cookies followed by a round of household chores to tidy up the common areas and children's playroom. The house must be kept pristine to ensure the health of the families.
"Keeping the house extraordinarily clean is essential because guests will be visiting loved ones with weakened immune systems," said freshman Maura Murphy. "I really felt like our efforts made a difference, and it was touching to see how gracious the people were. I knew I was making their lives just a little easier."
GW softball's efforts continue to illustrate the athletics department's ongoing effort to become a strong presence in the Washington, D.C., community and continually give back to a city that supports GW's student-athletes.
"It's always great to have the opportunity to help others," said senior co-captain Autumn Taylor. "In this case, we are happy to ease the minds of families who already have so much to think about."
The GW Athletics Department strives to create not only successful athletes, but successful professionals as well. A GW Athletics LinkedIn group has been created to foster communication between current student-athletes and athletics alumni who have already established careers.
The group created on LinkedIn, an increasingly popular professional networking site, can post discussion boards, exchange articles of interest as well as encourage past and current GW student-athletes to connect. Student-athletes seeking career advice can search for group members involved in specific job sectors, further facilitating an easy flow of conversation within GW's network of athletes.
In addition to providing current student-athletes with a professional support system, group members can post job and internship information right on the page. GW alumni looking to fill positions within their businesses can tap into the network of soon-to-be graduates hailing from their alma mater.
The group fits into the GW Athletics National Advisory Council's plan to connect student-athletes with alumni.
"It is crucial that current student-athletes build a relationship with our great alumni base who serve as ideal mentors in their industry sector," said Lifeskills Coordinator Ted Costigan.
Student-athletes will be strongly encouraged throughout the year to create a LinkedIn profile and join the "GW Athletics" group and begin taking advantage of the over 400 members who are already connecting.
The "GW Athletics" LinkedIn group is just another example of the growing efforts of the Athletics Department to prepare student-athletes for the competition away from the field and court - in today's job market. Past and former GW student-athletes interested in joining the LinkedIn group can click here.
-Seniors Dwayne Smith, Isaiah Armwood and Lasan Kromah and freshman Patricio Garino all reached double digits, and Smith led the way with a season-high 14 points off the bench.
-Armwood recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds while adding seven blocks.
-GW consistently held a narrow lead through the first half and had a 29-27 advantage at halftime, but the Colonials could not overcome the Wildcats in the second stanza.
-GW will face Rutgers on Tueday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be regionally televised on SNY and available for live viewing on ESPN3 and WatchESPN online.
-The Colonials' comeback attempt came up short in a 57-54 loss to American University on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena.
-GW shot just 29 percent in the first half as American led 25-17 at the break but came back strong, shooting 50 percent in the second half.
-The Eagles' 17-7 run to finish the game proved too much for the Colonials as a three-pointer with 1:21 remaining gave AU the lead for good, and senior Danni Jackson's last-second three-point attempt to tie rimmed out at the buzzer.
-Senior Megan Nipe finished with a game-high 14 points and added seven rebounds, and Jackson was the only other Colonial to reach double figures with 10 points.
-GW will open a three-game homestand on Wednesday against Auburn at 7:30 p.m.
-Senior Phillip Graeter won the 100-yard backstroke in 52.96 seconds while junior Jake Mortensen followed closely behind to take third with a time of 53.80.
-Graeter continued a strong showing earning the top spot in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:55.98 and placing second in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:55.33.
-Sophomore Garrett Cottingham touched the wall in 59.20 to win the 100-yard breaststroke before finishing second in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:10.66.
-Senior Luke Quimby won the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 21.84 seconds before taking second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 48.36 seconds, just ahead of classmate Niklas Glenesk who took third in 48.54.
-The 200-yard Medley relay team of junior Jake Mortensen, freshman Oliver Keegan, Cottingham and Quimby earned a second-place finish with a time of 1:37.51.
-The Colonials will return to the pool on Jan. 11 at the Rhode Island Invitational.
-Graduate student Tara Booker matched her season high with 20 points, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. Booker's six three-pointers were the most by a Colonials player this season and equaled her career best.
-The Colonials could not match a strong first half in the final 20 minutes of the game, shooting just 29 percent compared to 43 percent in the first stanza.
-GW defeated Manhattan College, 67-55, at the Verizon Center in the opening game of the 18th annual BB&T Classic on Sunday afternoon.
-Senior Isaiah Armwood led all players with a career-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds and six blocks. Armwood's performance included a perfect 7-7 showing at the free throw line.
-Senior Lasan Kromah tied his season-high mark of 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor and a 7-of-9 effort at the free throw line.
-GW's defense, led by freshman Patricio Garino, held Manhattan's leading scorer to just nine points - 10 below his average - while stifling the Jaspers to just 33.9 percent overall on the day.
Women's soccer junior Jane Wallis has been named GW's
Community Service Athlete of the Month for November.
The Community Service Athlete of the Month award, a
distinction which started this year, goes to the student-athlete who leads by
example and who most impacts the GW and Washington communities through service.
"Jane is an excellent leader both on and off the field and
she has been a fantastic role model for our team," first-year head women's
soccer coach Sarah Barnes said. "Jane is committed to serving others and she
understands the value of making an impact on others' lives."
A three-year member of the Grassroot Colonials Program,
which partners with Georgetown and Howard to bring HIV/AIDS education to
at-risk middle schools in the District of Columbia, Jane currently serves as
the organization's Program Coordinator. Through Jane's leadership, the
Grassroot program has seen membership more than double its participation from
last year and GW students are now present in 10 middle schools across the
"We are not just there to teach about HIV/AIDS, but to
help the kids understand that they have the ability to be resilient, make their
own choices, and have the confidence to do so," said Wallis.
This past summer Jane, along with lacrosse sophomore
Mackenzie Jones, cross country junior Jackson Carnes, and rowing senior Lauren
Byrne, was chosen to become part of the Grassroot Leaders Team and was invited
to attend a three-day national conference in Orlando, Fla., that consisted of
intensive leadership training.
Most recently, Jane helped coordinate efforts for the
Grassroot graduation, a ceremony to recognize the students' completion of the
Grassroot program in the Colonials' Charles E. Smith Center.
"Jane's motivation and commitment to service in the first
three months of classes, as well as during her soccer season, have helped
transform this signature GW program," said Ted Costigan, GW Athletics Life