Yesterday, Mayor Vincent Gray began his 500 Families, 100 Days project, which, as its name suggests, hopes to move 500 of the city’s homeless families from the shelter system into affordable housing by the end of June. Although District officials have a lot of excitement for and commitment to the campaign, they have yet to provide a clear plan for its achievement and instead are relying on community involvement to help the families.
Gray’s plan is a result of this winter’s unexpected rise in the number of families left out on the streets in hypothermic conditions. According to City Paper, at one point, the 285 family shelter rooms at the former D.C. General Hospital were full, leaving D.C. to pay for 472 families to stay in motels in D.C. and Maryland.
500 Families, 100 Days was originally announced during Gray’s State of the District speech. “What’s limiting our capacity to help even more homeless families get back on their feet is our ability to identify additional apartments in which to place them,” Gray said at the time.
On Wednesday night, when most students were boarding planes, trains, and automobiles to go home for Easter break, the University held Planning 203 in the ICC Auditorium. Planning 203 revealed new possibilities for future academic space, sustainability initiatives, construction project updates, and topics of future Vox posts.
Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey and Provost Bob Groves outlined options for space that could accommodate new academic programs, including building on Harbin Patio and bringing significant renovations to the Reiss Science Building.
“The underutilized Reiss space is a key focus of opportunity,” Groves said. ”It relates to … our desire to grow the sciences, our desire to be a more prominent as a research university.”
The Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union announced Monday that it would start providing Georgetown students with affordable student loans. The Credit Union leadership hope that the student loan portfolio will someday endow a fund to the University, helping to make Georgetown a more affordable place for its students.
According to GUASFCU CEO Laura Krivacek (COL ’15) and Chief Lending Officer Peter LiVolsi (COL ’15), the use of deposits to fund student loans was something George Houston, whose $100,000 deposit helped found the Credit Union, intended from the Credit Union’s inception in 1983.
“With George Houston’s generous spirit in mind, we will be donating 5% of all our student loan interest revenue to a fund at the university,” Krivacek and LiVolsi wrote in an email to Vox. “The goal of our donation to the university is to help make Georgetown more affordable for future generations of Hoyas.”
Last Friday, Georgetown Chief Information Officer Lisa Davis announced that installation of a new Verizon Wireless cellular tower on the Leavey Center had finished and is now active. The work, which began this past January, improves Verizon’s 4G network reception across campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“We expect to see improved outdoor coverage in the south end of campus as well as some areas of the north end of campus,” Laura Horton, University Information Services communication manager, told Vox. “Upper level floors [in buildings] will likely see improved cell coverage.”
Verizon users at the south end of main campus had previously experienced coverage issues. Verizon prompted the tower’s construction and fully covered its costs. “Verizon approached us asking if they could have space on campus for a cell tower,” Horton said. ”Knowing that we have areas on campus with poor coverage, we agreed.”
This past Saturday, GU Pride hosted the ninth annual Georgetown Drag Ball, Genderfunk. Since its inception nearly a decade ago, GenderFunk has been more than just a fun night of dancing and Drag performances: it provides a safe space on campus to be gender nonconforming and demonstrates that more Georgetown students are becoming increasingly comfortable with challenging their gender expression.
What started as a relatively little-known gathering, GenderFunk—coordinated this year by GU Pride President Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15)—has now has become GU Pride’s largest event of the year. Despite the increasing popularity of GenderFunk and the decline in reported physical attacks on LGBTQ students here at Georgetown, event organizer J. Capecchi (COL ’14) points out this does not mean that heterosexism and cissexism have been eradicated from the campus community.
“Unfortunately we can’t guarantee that all of campus is a safe space, and I personally know some students who were harassed before and after GenderFunk,” Capecchi told Vox. “However, this is why GenderFunk needs to exist.”
The D.C. mayoral primaries are over, with Muriel Bowser winning the Democratic primary and, effectively, November’s mayoral election as well. The losing primary candidates have packed up their campaigns and cut their losses, but one losing candidate still has plans for the District’s elections. Jack Evans, two-time mayoral primary loser and Ward 2 Council member, has already introduced legislation that would update some of the city’s election rules.
Evans’ bill would make four major changes to District elections. First, it would move elections from April to June to give the candidates more time to whiten their teeth and practice smiling and move the presidential primary to March. At the same time, non-party voters could vote in the primary elections, should the bill pass.
The bill also would reset the donor maximum after the primaries so that candidates can receive an additional $2,000 from donors during the general election campaigning. Evans argued that a $2,000 cap on the entire campaigning process is unfair to Democratic campaigners, who have a much more expensive primary campaign than an Independent candidate like David Catania, according to City Paper.
On Saturday morning, as the sun shone high over the Hilltop and D.C.’s cherry blossoms were at their peak, the Friends of Rigby Foundation celebrated the 10th Annual Rigby Weekend to promote fire safety among Georgetown students and to commemorate the life of Daniel Rigby (MSB ’05).
The Friends of Rigby Foundation was founded in October 2006 after Georgetown student Rigby passed away in an off-campus fire on Prospect Street. The organization seeks to educate college students of fire safety and to prevent tragedies like what happened to Daniel Rigby.
Runners and walkers alike came out for the Run for Rigby on Saturday afternoon for a 5K (or a 3K for those who prefer to walk … like Vox) on the Leavey Esplanade. The run, initially started in 2005, had over 150 participants including Georgetown students, alumni, and friends and family of the Rigby family. Patrick Rigby, Daniel’s brother, and Kevin Rigby, Daniel’s father, spoke in memory of Daniel at the start of the run and gave the ceremonial countdown.
Sunday was a bright and breezy day, so the GUSA Senate decided to take its weekly outside and meet next to John Carroll, who must have been nearly as important as they are because there’s a statue of him.
First, the Senate happily inaugurated its five new members, who will be in office for a lengthy term of a couple more Senate meetings, since they will serve only until the next round of elections in the fall.
Senator Enushe Khan (SFS ’17) discussed working on getting halal kosher dining options, and Senator Shweta Wahal (SFS ’16) talked about getting language about sexual assault reporting and resources for survivors into class syllabi. Wahal also mentioned that a collegiate readership survey is being released to the public to gauge student interest in the recently cut Collegiate Readership Program, which used to place five free newspapers around campus each day. There was much mutual commending.
Senator Seamus Guerin (COL ’16) made a side-note about how it was a beautiful day for his white pants.
After running out of things to commend each other on, the Senate decided that they should probably adjourn until their next Sunday picnic.
Dozens of transgender rights advocates gathered outside the Wilson Building on Friday to rally behind Monica Jones, a transgender student at Arizona State University’s School of Social Work who was arrested last May for, in the words of the arresting officer, “manifesting prostitution.” The rally was organized by Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive and the D.C. Trans Coalition and Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance in an effort to pressure the D.C. council to pass a bill that would repeal “prostitution free zones” in D.C.
Jones’ arrest was part of Project Rose, an anti-prostitution collaboration between the Arizona State University School of Social work, the Phoenix Police Department, and Catholic charities that conducts massive street sweeps to bring as many sex workers as possible into a prostitution diversion program.
Jones claims that the arrest was motivated not by misconduct on her part, but because she is an activist and a transgender woman of color. ”This law does not apply across the board,” Jones said to Truthout. “It applies to specific minorities and a specific area. If you look at this area, who’s in this area? Poor people and people of color.”
D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration began accepting applications yesterday morning for four newly available liquor licenses, namely three restaurant licenses and one tavern license, designated for the Georgetown Historic District.
The Washington City Paper reported that restauranteurs had camped outside the Reeves Municipal Center from Wednesday to submit their applications in person, as the city government reviews them on a first-come, first-served basis.
Because of a moratorium set in 1989, liquor licenses in Georgetown are extremely difficult to obtain. Only 68 of them can exist, including inactive licenses. Georgetown only has six tavern licenses; an establishment that possesses it is not obligated to generate at least 45 percent of its revenue from food sales.
The Washington Post reported last week that the Maryland House of Delegates decided to allocate at most $18.5 million in film tax credits, up from the current maximum of $7.5 million used to reward production companies that film in Maryland. The vote comes after popular Netflix series House of Cards threatened to move its production elsewhere if it did not receive sufficient tax credit for its filming of season three.
Back in Feb. 2014, several state legislators complained about the large amounts of tax credits House of Cards received and had hesitated to increase the allocation of film tax credits. The show had received $26 million for the first two season; it expects to receive another $15 million for season three, although the state government had only promised $4 million for season three before last week’s vote.
However, the Maryland Film Office states that House of Cards is a significant contributor to Maryland’s economy and employment. According to a Dec. 2012 report, filming of the first season alone added more than $147 million into the state economy.