Inauguration of memories for Stritch students

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:30:00 PM

By Buddy Herberg, ’13 

“I stood witness to a historic event alongside hundreds of thousands of other people. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Stritch sophomore Josh Roberts on his experience attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January.

Roberts, who grew up more than 3,000 miles from the United States, in Wales, recently seized an opportunity to travel with more than 40 other Stritch students and staff to this nation’s capital to attend the Presidential Inauguration.  Roberts, being from a foreign nation, appreciated every aspect the trip had to offer.

“We got our own exclusive  tour of the Pentagon, went to the Holocaust Museum, saw the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and even the Space and Air Museum,” said Roberts.

The inauguration trip provided students with a variety of activities of historical significance and personal fulfillment. Many of the students who went on the trip had never been to Washington D.C. before. Senior Communications major Heather McGlothlin spoke of her personal experience of adaptation to a new place.

“I had never been to Washington D.C. before this trip and there were so many aspects of the experience I can now share with others,” said McGlothlin. “I would have never seen landmarks like the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon and something as simple as riding the Metro would have never been part of my life.”

McGlothlin’s new experiences were not solely limited to the attractions D.C. had to offer, though.

“The inauguration itself was amazing. But other parts of the trip really impacted me as well. Getting along with a group of people who before, I never would have interacted with, helped me create new friendships,” said McGlothlin.

Inauguration 5

Matt Goodwin, who assumed the role of assistant dean of students at Stritch in the fall of 2011, had a vision to create programming that provides students with an exceptionally memorable college experience. The trip to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Obama has helped more 40 students in realizing that vision.

“College students, particularly college students at Stritch, have an obligation to have these types of opportunities to engage in discussion of this civic process and moral purpose,” said Goodwin.

Junior psychology major Ryan DeRosa had no hesitation when saying the most memorable moment of his trip was hearing President Obama speak in person.

“You see President Obama on TV and he’s just another great speaker. But seeing him in person is something completely different,” said DeRosa. “He is such a charismatic speaker and the boldness of his tone gives you a whole new perspective of him. It seems like he’s speaking to you personally, instead of at you.”

While DeRosa strongly valued the civic aspects of the trip, as a Franciscan university, Stritch also infuses service into its student trips.

As part of the trip, Goodwin organized an effort for Stritch students to assist efforts at a local homeless shelter, serving dinner to more than 400 homeless men. Because the visitors of that particular shelter are only served dinner and allowed to sleep there during the night, Stritch students also made more than 2,000 breakfast bags (brown paper bags that contained foods such as oranges, granola bars, and fruit snacks) and handed  out more than 400 the next morning . The remaining 1,500 were delivered to other shelters across town for the same purpose.

“Seeing the inauguration was just one more great thing Stritch has allowed me to do, but it also provided me with a chance to help others in the process, said sophomore Ashley Singers. “ I enjoyed that service part of the trip more than any other. It was truly something special.”