That’s how I would describe today, and really this whole week. It truly is a full college class boiled down into ten days, today being no exception. Working from 9:00-5:00 (Thank you for this lyric, Dolly Parton) all 70 or so students experienced what would have been or felt like orientation, syllabus day, and the first introductory week of class all rolled into a few hours.
We began with ice breakers, how to stay safe in DC, and getting us prepared for the days ahead. After spending most of the morning in orientation and acclamation mode, we then broke into our individual seminars after lunch. The seminars being included this winter are the following: American Politics: Political Polarization (the one I am participating in), Urban Education, and International Relations: Grand Strategy. This is the largest winter seminar in the Washington Office’s history, and it only looks to continue to grow.
Today’s icebreaker, where each table tried to build the highest freestanding balloon tower in appropriate colors (Go Tribe!) while also memorizing every group member’s name and favorite food.
Washington Office Director Adam Anthony gives a lecture on Networking 101 to all of the students, preparing us for how to take full advantage of the abundant opportunities to meet new people working in and thriving in their respective fields.
In our class session, we went over the syllabus and what was to be expected of us throughout the two weeks, as well as the general schedule and what site visits and speakers to look forward to. We then worked chapter by chapter through our assigned book to have read before today, It’s Even Worse than it Looks, by congressional scholars Mann and Ornstein. This book carefully directs the causes of political polarization, provides in depth examples, but also gives the reader what would be good/bad solutions to the problems our political climate currently faces. In fact, we will be meeting with Ornstein this Wednesday afternoon!
I am thrilled to be able to continue learning about this incredibly complex issue that affects each American everyday by expanding my horizons beyond this book from the varied perspectives of the panels and speakers we will have a privilege to meet with and speak to over the course of the seminar.
Reed Timoner, American Politics Seminar, ’19