Georgetown University will begin construction next semester on a new building in downtown D.C. With over 450 beds, it will house students enrolled in the Capitol Applied Learning Lab (CALL), a semester-long program that connects GU students with internships in the city and professional development opportunities.
The new 11-story building will be located at 55 H St. NW. Construction is expected to finish in 2022, and administrators hope that CALL, which began this school year with 15 students enrolled, will grow to 150 or more per semester by 2025.
The program seeks to make the D.C. internship experience attainable, particularly for students who would otherwise have difficulty fitting an off-campus, unpaid internship into their on-campus lives. To that end, the program currently funds public transportation costs, transfers work-study jobs to positions at the new facility, pays all housing costs at the New York University facility where students are currently housed, and is developing a meal plan to defray the costs of groceries for students in the program.
CALL began as an initiative of English Professor Matthew Pavesich, associate director of the writing program, and Vice Provost Randy Bass, who wanted to offer a way for Georgetown to support students taking D.C. internships.
“It’s often only the most privileged students who can afford to take unpaid internships,” Pavesich said. “The Capitol Campus writ large is designed to give an opportunity to get as many of you [students] as we can, as well as faculty and staff, off the Hilltop doing cool stuff in the midst of a really dynamic city.”
In August 2019, a year after the initial planning, Abigail Lewis joined the university as director of the program, which she described as a “study-abroad in D.C.”; she has previously led similar programs at Barnard College and Rutgers University.
While Pavesich described the initial idea as held together by “toothpicks and popsicle sticks,” growing interest and resources have created a more robust plan, part of which includes the need for independent housing.
At the moment, CALL students take classes at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies. The courses include a city seminar and internship seminar as well as classes taught by Georgetown professors, including Pavesich and Professor Sarah Stiles from the Department of Sociology.
The Georgetown University Law Center, two blocks from the new construction project, is also constructing a new facility downtown, and plans to offer space for the CALL program to hold classes.