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On The Road: Capital City




By Selena Fragassi

 

Washington, D.C. has been making history since the founding of our nation, and these five venues are prime examples of the district’s never-ending charm.

With a new president, Washington, D.C. has been the focus of a lot of attention in recent months and continues to be a top tourist destination and business capital. These five venues are examples of its historical significance and adaptability, from one of the first colleges for women to Bill Clinton’s alma mater and a high-tech venue pushing all the boundaries.

Corvias

Washington, D.C. is not only the nation’s capital but it’s also the headquarters of the United States Military, which is how Corvias got its start. In 1998, this housing management company was founded as Picerne Military Housing, offering a range of placement services to the Armed Forces.

However, four years ago, Corvias took on a new name and began branching out to include colleges and universities in its portfolio, including the university system of Georgia and, most recently, D.C.’s Howard University. Under a 40-year partnership, Corvias will vastly renovate the two, 10-story Howard Plaza Towers it manages. In addition, Corvias oversees operations for the on-campus Drew Hall and Cook Hall.



“We handle everything from maintenance and custodial needs to residence life and also summer conferencing, internships, and housing. That includes about 1,300 beds,” says Mark Miller, director of campus relations and operations. The program includes distinct services for short- and long-term stays. “Short-term stays are held in the traditional residence halls with meal plans provided,” he adds. “For long-term stays, we place guests in our apartment-style housing with full kitchens.”

Not only is Howard’s location ideal—in close proximity to many national monuments and the Smithsonian Institute—but Miller also says affordability is a big selling point. “Our price point is very affordable compared to other housing available in this popular market, and it gives people the opportunity to be right in heart of D.C.”

The Catholic University of America

As its name would imply, there is something quite sacred about The Catholic University of America. “We are the national university of the Catholic Church in the U.S., founded by the bishops and chartered by the Holy See. We have direct connection to bishops who are on our board of trustees, and they have a direct connection to the Vatican,” says Executive Director of Events and Conference Services Bill Jonas.

In fact, CUA is located in a northeast pocket of the D.C. metro area called Brookland, which is often referred to as “Little Rome” thanks to historic sites like the monumental Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and a shrine to Saint John Paul II. There’s no religious affiliation needed to meet on this campus, but its history and the location make for a unique and historical setting.



The setting is also quite scenic with 176 acres offering a wealth of green space and 50 buildings providing a variety of meeting spaces. The Pryzbyla Center has the largest multipurpose room with 7,500 square feet of space. The building also hosts several other smaller meeting rooms and an information desk, “so it’s a perfect place for registration and check-in,” says Jonas. Also in the Pryzbyla Center are an all-you-can-eat dining hall, food court, and Starbucks.

The renovated Heritage Hall is another option with a 4,500-square-foot space accommodating 400 for a lecture or 200 for a seated reception. The 595-seat Hartke Theatre is also ideal for conference groups. In the summer, overnight accommodations are available, from traditional-style residence halls to full suites. Even better, a dedicated metro stop makes the campus “very accessible,” says Jonas.

Georgetown University

If your group really wants the presidential feel, head to Georgetown University, which is the campus where Bill Clinton studied and received his undergraduate degree. “He actually lived in the building that our office is now located in,” says Bill Huff, associate director of summer programs. Georgetown’s history dates even farther back, however, all the way to 1789 when it was established as the first Jesuit Catholic University in the country.

Another charm of Georgetown is that it’s a closed campus located in a historic neighborhood removed from the urban landscape of D.C. The retreat feel is enhanced by sprawling lawns, large oak trees, and Gothic-style buildings. “It is a quieter part of town but we are across the bridge from Arlington, Virginia and just a quick metro ride away from one of the country’s most bustling cities,” says Jonas. To that effect, the campus offers a free shuttle service to a number of the transit stations.



On-site, Georgetown offers 18 different meeting rooms accommodating up to 100 people in classroom settings and up to 1,200 people in the largest theatre space. One of the busiest spots is the Southwest Quad, which was finished in 2006 with the “purposeful intention to create a community,” says Huff. That includes communal lounges and close proximity to a newer dining hall.

One of the most recent additions is found in Arrupe Hall that opened last fall with two- to six-person suites with double bedrooms, private baths, and private mini refrigerators and microwaves. In total, Georgetown has 5,200 beds for the summer—all buildings have air conditioning and all guests have complimentary access to the Yates Fitness Center. Says Huff, “It’s a priority that our guests are always comfortable.”

Trinity Washington University

Women’s history is another important part of American history, and Trinity Washington University is a prominent part of that timeline. “Trinity was founded in 1897 by the Sisters of Notre Dame in response to women’s inability to gain admission to other universities,” says Annette Coram, executive director, conference and event sales. “We had our first class in 1900 with 19 students and six faculty members.” At the time, all were living in South Hall, which has since morphed into the south wing of Main Hall, a massive Gothic-style building with 225,000 square feet of space for dining, lodging, and classrooms.

Another marquee spot is the Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports, which was completed in 2002. It offers a main floor that can be arranged with staging for events of 1,600 people seated; if you add in bleachers, the capacity increases to 2,500 people. “It also has an indoor pool, workout facility, and aerobic room open to conference guests and the community at large,” says Coram.



The most recent addition on campus is the Payden Academic Center, opened in 2016, with 80,000 square feet spread across four floors. In addition to 23 classrooms, there are eight labs set up like hospitals. Says Coram, “We’ve had some calls from production companies that want to use them for filming.”

Like Catholic University of America, Trinity is located in the northeast district of D.C. and close to the Brookland Metro stop. By car, visitors can get to the downtown area in just 15 minutes. “One of the great things we offer is 500 complimentary parking spaces for guests,” says Coram, “which is a huge benefit for groups.” The campus also offers amenities including free Wi-Fi, 24-hour security, and full-service dining facilities and catering.

Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center

Located just a hop away from the D.C. metro area, the Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center (in Arlington) has a reputation for having one of the most state-of-the-art setups. In fact, the campus recently won Unique Venues Best of Award for “most high-tech venue” for its array of features, available at no additional cost.

That includes laptop-connecting projection systems with screens up to 103”, video teleconferencing for up to three remote sites, and a 20-foot visualization wall capable of advanced 3D projection in the Foggy Bottom Room. On-site tech experts are always available, free of charge, and they test connections beforehand to ensure successful meetings.



“We are a research center so we’re not a typical campus per say, but within that we have everything concentrated in one building allowing for a convenient and intimate experience,” says Center Manager Larissa LaCour, noting the spaces can accommodate smaller groups from 50 to 90 guests. Two of the most popular options include the tiered classroom known as the Ballston Room and the multipurpose East/West Falls Church Room. Each comes with tables, chairs, and A/V setups, but “if guests need additional services like online registration, catering, fee collection, or name badge creation, we can provide that as well,” says LaCour.

The Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center is easily accessible to Washington, D.C. with nearby metro train lines, and, says LaCour, “we also have a lot of hotels, retail, and shopping experiences nearby” for the benefit of guests.


Get Connected

Corvias
UniqueVenues.com/CorviasHowardUniv
(202) 525.0869

The Catholic University of America
UniqueVenues.com/CUA
(202) 319.5291

Georgetown University
UniqueVenues.com/Georgetown
(202) 687.4560

Trinity Washington University
UniqueVenues.com/trinitycenterdc
(202) 884.9132

Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center
UniqueVenues.com/VATechResearchCtr
(571) 858.3044 
Talk to a Venue Specialist: 1-877-244-6110