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King University News :: King’s Freshman Class to Experience D.C.

For the past ten years, King freshmen have been experiencing the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., and making connections that will last a lifetime.  This year, freshmen will Experience D.C. on Sept. 20-22.

This unique class trip is far more than a sightseeing tour.  “Experience D.C. is a shared experience designed to build cohort unity, through interaction with faculty, staff, and King alumni outside the classroom setting,” said Matt Peltier, King’s dean of students.  “The freshman will also have this adventure in common with King sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as alumni who went in previous years.  There is an exploration piece – getting to see how what you are doing theoretically in the classroom, in your major, can turn into your vocation.  The trip is also designed to show students how vast the options are for careers within the field they choose.”

While students are challenged, faculty and staff also provide a supportive role and create an environment to help make the transition from home to college student easier.  “There are many ways in which we are purposeful in serving students,” said Peltier.  “At the same time, the DC experience provides some perspective.  They are a small fish in a big pond.  However, there are connections to be made to broaden their scope.” 

Tracs students participate in include an art study at the National Gallery of Art; discussions of the Human Genome project at the Smithsonian Institute; and responding to human suffering at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Students also honor the nation's war veterans in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first stop on the Experience D.C. trip every year is the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.  Students have the opportunity to walk through the Reynolds Garden, named for a King College alumnus, Richard S. Reynolds (1900).  Memorialized in the garden, Reynolds was “the visionary industrialist-poet who foresaw his country’s inevitable need for aluminum.  During the late 1930’s, Reynolds responded to this need by placing his fortune and reputation in the balance to produce enough aluminum for the United States to build and sustain the air force giving the Allies overwhelming air superiority for D-Day.” 

Another aspect of Experience D.C. is the alumni connection.  In the past, alumni gatherings have been scheduled to coincide with the trip, with hopes of bringing alumni and students together.  During the past several trips, alumni have also been invited to experience some of the tracs along with the freshmen. 

Connecting with alumni provides students the ability to see how so many of King’s graduates have and continue to change the world.  “The students are part of that tradition now, and our expectation is that they come through, and, in four years, mature and go forward to do great things,” said Green.  “Our students are already doing this every day in the community, on mission trips, and with each other.  Any time you can tie the old and the new together, you are furthering the King vision of building meaningful lives for achievement and cultural transformation.” 

When the students return from D.C., there is always a new dynamic and energy to their interactions.  They have more than just fun stories of adventure to tell.  They have become a part of the family connection for which King is so well known.  “Some do come back with a different appreciation of what they want their end goal to be and what they ultimately want to accomplish,” said Peltier.  “Our hope is, at the very least, it starts them thinking not just what am I going to do tomorrow or next semester, but how are all the things I have the opportunity to do over the next four years going to be the launch pad for what I do beyond King.  How do my choices shape my life, rather than just my today?”

For more information on Experience D.C., contact King’s Office of Student Affairs at 423.652.4740.  ALL deposits must be received by Monday, Sept. 3.  Please submit deposits to King’s Business Office at https://dcregistration.king.edu/.