Georgetown to add Hindu chaplaincy this fall

This fall, Georgetown will add to its extensive on-campus chaplain community, the largest in the entire country, with its first ever Hindu chaplain. Pratima Dharm, a Hindu chaplain currently serving in the U.S. Army, will arrive on campus on October 1.

Vice President for Mission and Ministry Kevin O’Brien, S.J., announced Dharm’s decision to come to campus via email yesterday. O’Brien connected Dharm’s chaplaincy to Georgetown’s long tradition of diverse chaplains, dating back to the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council in the 60s. Georgetown was the first Catholic university to have a rabbi and an imam serve as full-time chaplains.

According to O’Brien, Dharm is the first female chaplain of Indian descent and the first Hindu chaplain in the U.S. Army.

“Over the years, she earned the esteem of her colleagues and, among other accolades, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for organizing and leading numerous humanitarian aid missions for the Kurdish people in Iraq,” O’Brien wrote. “Before joining the army, Chaplain Dharm served as a teacher, counselor, and social worker in a variety of settings.”

Dharm will retire from military service this fall and starts at Georgetown on October 1.

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Student Center enters final phase of construction before September 5 opening

Good news Hoyas, construction of the Healy Family Student Center is on target for its September 5 grand opening. The planned pub, however, is only in initial construction phases and is projected for completion by October 31. and Hilltoss, the Corp’s new salad and smoothie bar is slated for November 1.

Vox had the pleasure of seeing the inside of the Center earlier this week. The interior is almost done, with much of the remaining work involving spackling, installing electrical fixtures, and painting.

By August 18, the University is going to have a use and occupancy permit.

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Med school Peer-to-Peer Tutoring starts Georgetown-wide reply-all idiocy

Last Friday, in emails sent to the entire Georgetown University community, over 25 Georgetown students and alumni confirmed what everyone already knows: reply-all is a nightmare and an embarrassment. Only this time, the replies went out to the entire student body and much of the alumni network.

The anarchy began at 4:29 p.m., when Georgetown Medical School Peer-to-Peer coordinators Haley BuntingEmily Kivlehan, and Tyler Kingdon emailed third-year medical students about tutoring for second and first-year med students.

Vox isn’t quite sure how this happened, but the simple sign-up email ended up getting into the mailbox of (apparently) everyone with a Georgetown email. Everyone from current students to alumni to administrators seems to have gotten a copy of the original email.

Over the next couple hours, anyone who replied to the message also ended up sending an email to the whole school, and there were some hilariously confused responses.

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Georgetown ranks 28 in Forbes Top Colleges 2014

In this brave new world of arbitrary lists that attempt to give a number to the best academic institutions in the country, Forbes released it’s seventh Annual Colleges Ranking last week. Georgetown comes in at number 28, tucked between the Naval Academy and Wellesley College.

Forbes claims to use the best formula of ranking the top institutions and this year, the website attempts to expose the “ongoing debate between the value of small student-centric, liberal arts colleges vs. large brainy research-oriented universities closely associated with science, technology, engineering and math.”

Any students who used the ever-acclaimed RateMyProfessors for pre-registration or to rate a professor helped Forbes with its rankings. The website has paired up with The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), which measures each institution based on post-graduate success, graduation rate, academic success, and student satisfaction (i.e. finding what schools are the most likely to bash their professors online).

While Vox thinks that ranking based even partly on reviews like these is a little sketchy, she does, however, think that Business Insider’s April ranking of the Top 25 Colleges Where the Students are both Hot and Smart does do the Hoyas justice.

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Georgetown construction update: All roads lead to Do Not Enter

Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, in an email to the Georgetown University community, laid out some major planning changes taking place on campus next month. To accommodate Georgetown’s various construction projects, several major roads and pedestrian pathways on campus will be rerouted or inaccessible at some point.

According to Morey, “as the fall semester begins,” Georgetown will finish construction on the Healey Family Student Center in New South, continue renovation on Ryan and Mulledy Halls, and add capacity to the Utility Plant. Additionally, Georgetown will finally start construction on the Northeast Triangle Dorm and the new athletic center.

There’s so many construction projects it could make your head spin. Morey included a link to download a map of all the construction.

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Prefrosh Preview: Mental health and psychiatric services at Georgetown

The mental health of Georgetown’s student body is an important topic, as it should be at any rigorous college or university. The heavy burden posed by most students’ coursework can often take a toll on mental health, and, regardless of academic stress, many people have existing mental health issues that they must deal with. Fortunately, Georgetown has the mental health services and resources necessary for most of the students who require them.

Georgetown’s center for Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is the hub of mental health treatment on campus. Located on the back side of Darnall, CAPS saw over 1,600 students during the 2012 academic year.

CAPS is equipped to handle just about any mental health issue and will provide a student’s first three sessions for free before requiring a $10 co-payment with each visit for students on University healthcare.

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Georgetown cancels all trips and programs in West Africa due to Ebola outbreak

In an email sent Friday, Associate Vice President for Risk Management Joseph Yohe and Assistant Vice President for Student Health James Welsh informed the Georgetown community about a temporary moratorium on all University-sponsored travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the three West African nations currently fighting the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

The travel moratorium follows yesterday’s travel warning issued by U.S. health officials, who alerted U.S. citizens of the danger posed by the deadly Ebola virus, which kills about 90 percent of those who contract it and is transmitted via direct contact with bodily fluids. Over 720 people have died in this outbreak.

According to Yohe and Welsh, Georgetown’s travel moratorium is intended to be consistent with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines and warnings.

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African Ebola outbreak forces Georgetown to postpone event

The ominous Ebola outbreak in West Africa has forced the postponement of The Future of Development and Business in Africa event, which was to be hosted in Gaston Hall on Monday by Georgetown University and the Coca-Cola Company. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, one of the event’s guests and key speakers, was forced to cancel her plans to attend the event in order to deal with the outbreak.

Over 700 people have died in what is now the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Ebola is a highly infectious viral disease that is spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids and kills up to 90 percent of those who contract it.

In response to the mounting death toll, Sirleaf declared a national state of emergency in Liberia and has cancelled her plans to travel to the U.S. Sierra Leone has also declared a state of emergency, as rumors and superstition cause locals to protest the presence of the foreigners who have come to help control the spread of the disease.

U.S. health officials released a travel warning today against going to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

While it is currently unknown when The Future of Development and Business in Africa event will be rescheduled, health officials estimate that it could take six months to end the outbreak, during which time the disease could potentially spread to even more nations.

Photo: Aktiv via Flickr

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Court ruling keeps D.C. handgun free for 90 more days

Yesterday, a federal judge granted a 90-day stay on a ruling which overturned D.C.’s ban on handguns in public. The next 90 days will hopefully give District officials the time they need to decide whether to pursue an appeal of the decision or bear down and prepare for legal possession of handguns on the capital’s streets.

This stay was granted in response to a lawsuit which began in the wake of the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that strengthened the Second Amendment by interpreting it as a guarantee of a person’s right to own a gun for self-defense. The 5-4 decision also specifically addressed D.C.’s blanket handgun ban, deeming it unconstitutional.

“We hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense,” Justice Antonin Scalia (COL ’57) wrote in his opinion.

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Prefrosh Preview: Arts at Georgetown

When it comes to career choices, Georgetown grads tend to play it pretty safe. Nearly 41 percent of the employed portion of the Class of 2012 went into financial services or consulting, and that doesn’t include everyone who’s pre-med or pre-law. Despite this pre-professional focus, however, Georgetown still attracts plenty of people who share a love for the arts, regardless of whether they someday dream of being the next wolf of Wall Street.

For starters, Georgetown has a solid theater program and was even ranked as the second best outside of New York in 2012. Last fall, the program put on a production of Hamlet complete with some jarring (in a good way) dubstep transitions and the use of some modern technology like phones and tablets.

The theater department itself is complemented by several student performance groups, including the country’s longest-running college theater group Mask & Bauble and Nomadic Theatre, which once counted Bradley Cooper (COL ’97) among its ranks.

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