During fall break, October 10-12th, 40 students, faculty, and staff took on the sights and streets of Washington D.C. The trip, sponsored by the Marion campus Office of Diversity and Inclusion, allowed students an opportunity to experience diversity throughout the trip, from staying in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and taking students on a self guided tour through the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Students were also given the opportunity to go on tours through the White House and the Capitol Building.
Something that distinguished this trip to students was all of the free time available to do what they enjoyed. Students were able to go anywhere in the city and experience history and culture. Brittany Kuykendell recounted her experience, saying that she “didn’t realize when I signed up, that the culture of itself entirely would affect me more than possibly some of the monuments. Being able to see and live in the diverse city life (even if only for a few days) was eye opening. From the food, to the newest technology, to the people who call this home, I loved having the chance to be a part of it.”
Being able to walk around the city and do things the students enjoyed was a highlight for the students on the trip. This included seeing monuments at day or night, visiting museums that fit their interests, and being able to try new and different foods, such as Indian Curry from Jyoti Indian Cuisine and Japanese Ramen from Sakuramen. These restaurants, for example, were on the same street as the HighRoad Hostel, located in an ethnically diverse neighborhood near the heart of the city.
The hostel offered multiple bedding arrangements for guests, like 4 people bedrooms with bunk beds, personal lockers, and some even had personal bathrooms. Students had the opportunity to meet and interact with other travelers from all over Europe like Germany, Ireland, Italy, and England. Continental breakfast was provided free everyday with access to local coffee shops and diners as well. The Friendship Cafe, halfway down the block, had fresh baked macaroons every morning.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture offered a special experience for all students.
Ander Jackson, a sophomore, wrote about her experience saying that “Throughout this whole trip to the African American Museum I felt at home and I was simply at peace. I loved learning about the different inventions made by African Americans and just simply learning about the different events from my history!” Jackson also noted how she loved being surrounded by her culture.
Although a lot of students had already been to D.C. before, it wasn’t hard for them to find something they liked. Amber Alexander, a junior, recounted on her second trip to the city. “Some things were much more emotional now that I’m an adult and I have a much better understanding. I felt much more connected with the history in the National Holocaust Museum due to my history classes. You learn much different things in a college course than you do in 8th grade English reading The Boy In The Stripped Pajamas. Both important, but one much more poignant as an adult. To unlearn and learn more truth is what I value from college and this trip.”
Perhaps the most important thing gained from this trip was, as Chiharu Mochizuki puts it, “I liked that we could get into some government buildings. My friend and I imagined working there and realized that it is not an impossible dream. It was nice that we could see all the rare places. We gained a motivation to study harder at OSU.” This trip offered students not only a view of the broader United States and a real sense of the “Melting Pot,” but also how their education could be used.
From English, Business, Education, Art History, and Biology, students from all different educational backgrounds and studies were able to not only enjoy themselves, but find interests within the city. This gave students, such as Mochizuki, a sense of how useful an education at Ohio State really is and how obtainable the goal to work in the government can be.
“In a place like Washington D.C., where major changes in this country occurs, I was glad that there was diversity in political ideologies and activism, as well as racial diversity.”