Students, staff learn from D.C. trip

By Robert Riches
April 11, 2012

People take pictures during a dedication ceremony at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (credit: MCT)

Students and staff enjoyed a bus trip to Washington, D.C. to view the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, as well as other various landmarks on Saturday, March 31.

Sponsored by the Office of Student Diversity Initiatives, the trip was free of charge to anyone who was interested in attending. The trip came four days prior to the 44th anniversary of King’s assassination.

“The original goal was to allow us to actually view the MLK memorial in person,” Stephanie Reed, director of the Office of Student Diversity Initiatives, said. “I just wanted to open it up to the campus and give a little bit more variety to the student body.”

Two buses departed from the Dixon Center parking lot early on Saturday morning and arrived in the nation’s capital before noon. Students and staff were dropped off in front of the MLK memorial and were given several hours to take in the MLK memorial and other sites. The nearby Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials were just some of the many options that attendees had to visit.

“I enjoyed the free time  walking around and seeing other monuments,” assistant library director Anne Schwelm said. “I saw Vietnam, where I was able to look up the name of my father’s college roommate, who was a Navy pilot and whose  airplane was shot down…the volunteer there was very kind and he did a rubbing of Commander [Michael] Estochin for me to give to my dad…that was very special.”

After seeing memorials, attendees were given an option between getting on a bus to go to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History or walking there to try and see more sights.

“I had a lot of fun going to all the museums and monuments,” sophomore Erin Adams said. “I learned a lot about our country and how we got here.”

At the American History museum, attendees had the opportunity to view a multitude of interesting exhibits including: an exhibit modeling various gowns worn by First Ladies of the United States at inaugural balls, the Price of Freedom exhibit detailing wars that America has fought in, an exhibit about the Star-Spangled Banner and many others.

“The most interesting thing was getting to be a part of the dramatization of the counter sit-in at the Woolworth’s in Greensboro, N.C.,” Schwelm said. “It was very enlightening and very moving.”

Following the closure of the American History musuem, the attendees boarded the buses and headed back to campus. While only a few hours were spent in the nation’s capital, they helped create a lifetime of memories and interesting learning experiences.

“I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go on the trip and learn more about our country in a fun way,” Adams said.

The trip to Washington, D.C. could be considered a success and it may even pave the way for future visits to our nation’s capital.

“I’m happy with the turnout and I think we had a good time,” Reed said. “I’d love for next year to see a larger group go…but a nice trip to pull together for the campus would be great.”

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Robert Riches

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