A view of the U.S. Capitol before the inauguration.

As Washington prepared for the presidential inauguration last week, students on Hamilton’s Program in Washington, D.C., settled in for the semester and began internships working on The Hill, as well as at various NGOs and lobbying groups.

A few students attended Friday’s inauguration, including Molly Clark ’19 and Matt Story ’18. Clark attended because she recognized it as a moment of political change, noting that she was 12-years-old when Obama was elected president.

 “My political awakening occurred during the era of Obama’s ‘hope.’ Considering the speculation on just how much may change within the next four years, I recognize that the beginning of the Trump administration is a critical political moment that has polarized this country in a way that I personally have not yet seen,” she said.

 Clark said she recognizes that Trump’s presidency has ignited a resistance movement, as seen through demonstrations at women’s marches around the world.

“After attending both the inauguration and the Women’s March, I was able to see the two opposing demographics that Trump has mobilized on either side of the political spectrum,” Clark remarked.

Elements of the Trump administration have already become the topic of classroom discussions.

On the first day of class, D.C. Program Advisor Professor Alan Cafruny began the semester by reflecting on the significance of being present in D.C. during this particular moment in history.

Along with getting hands-on experience through their internships, students on the D.C. program are enrolled in a seminar titled “Class, State, and Political Power: Who Rules America?” which examines inequality and the nature of political power in the United States.

In addition, students have time for weekly discussions of current events and issues as they come up throughout the semester as well as trips to attractions in DC.  Many students from the D.C. program attended the Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration.

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