HomeOut and AboutMeaningful Opportunities: SCSU Ventures to Washington, D.C.

Meaningful Opportunities: SCSU Ventures to Washington, D.C.

It was a cold February day when a busload of Southern students, faculty, and staff rolled into our nation’s capital for a weekend of education and fun.

On President’s Day weekend, more than 40 students across disciplines, clubs, and organizations traveled to Washington, D.C., to engage in activities over four days in our nation’s capital.

Their weekend started with an alumni gathering at the Capital Hilton, steps away from the White House. Students had the opportunity to hear from area-based alumni, their peers, Interim President Dwayne Smith, Director of Alumni Relations Gregory Bernard, and Assistant Director of Career and Professional Development Rachel Cunningham Exavier.

Caleb Rutherford, president of the Black Student Union, said he was most looking forward to the networking event on Friday evening.

“While it might seem like a minor part of the trip, our usual interaction with alumni isn’t as frequent as we’d like,” said Rutherford. “We’re aware they’re accessible, but we don’t often utilize this connection. This trip enhances that opportunity, especially since these alumni are not just part of the university but also our organizations. They understand its history and operations and can offer valuable insights into careers, Southern, or our organizations themselves.”

Over the weekend, students had the opportunity to tour Smithsonian museums, visit monuments such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, and spend two days at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“The African American History Museum helped me understand more about the struggles and hurdles our ancestors had to overcome and still the resilience and beauty that was born from it,” said Khaiesha Robinson, a senior social work major. “It enhanced my college experience and education by helping me understand the importance of traveling and exploring the unknown.”

The trip to Washington, D.C., was always an annual affair for the Black Student Union, according to Dawn Stanton, director of University Access Programs. It was the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the trip to be put on hold for two years, disrupting what had been a longstanding tradition. However, once restrictions began to ease and it became safe to travel again, campus organizations began planning their return.

“I hope experiences like these will encourage our students to return with their families, and one day their children and future generations,” said Stanton.

“This opportunity allows our organization to collaborate with sibling organizations, bond during a trip, and learn more about our history and culture,” said Rutherford. “It was a key focus for enhancing social engagement.”

Click here to view images from the Washington, D.C., trip.


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