Motivated by a shared interest in witnessing our country’s “peaceful, Constitutional transfer of power,” history major Travis Nichols and mathematics major Meaghan Dougherty organized a trip in which 20 Worcester State University students traveled to Washington, D.C., to witness the inauguration of Donald Trump as the country’s 45th president on Friday, January 20.
“Originally, we started out as two students trying to organize a trip,” Nichols said. After they contacted the Honors Program and President’s Office for assistance, “those two offices were very helpful in making the trip happen.” John J. Binienda Center for Civic Engagement Director Mark Wagner, Director of First-Year and Transfer Services Colleen Wheaton, and Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing Katherine Cleary also lent their support by accompanying the students on the trip.
“We got a mix of Republicans and Democrats who were interested in going,” Dougherty added.
The group arrived by bus at Trinity University around 5 a.m. and began their trek through the city via the Metro. With silver tickets received through Congressman Jim McGovern’s office in hand, the students made their way through security checkpoints and found a spot on the National Mall about 100 to 150 yards away from the ceremony.
“You could see who was walking out of the Capitol building,” Nichols said.
Dougherty was impressed to “see democracy in its full power” and to have the chance to be “in that charged environment” with both Trump supporters and protesters there. “It was such high energy. Being in the capital at that time was so wild. Seeing history happen was truly amazing.”
“As a history major, I thought it was great,” Nichols said. “We got to see who cheered and who booed. It’s an experience you never get watching an inauguration on TV.”
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