Derek Andre ’16 – Over the past week, 14 Wallys, myself included, had the opportunity to travel to the nation’s Capital as part of a Rhetoric course about the various rhetorical aspects of Washington, DC. Over the course of the week we were able to meet with Senator Joe Donnelly, Representative Luke Messer ’91, visit NPR, America Rising, and Prime Policy Group, and see all the sights that DC has to offer. The trip was designed to provide those of us in the course, entitled Voices of America: the Rhetoric of the Nation’s Capital, the opportunity to view DC firsthand and to take our acquired knowledge back with us so that we can create a final project analyzing some aspect of the District.
Unlike the rest of the group, my project entailed a trip to Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals. For my final project, I plan to analyze the rhetorical constructs surrounding Nationals Park, including the way that the park constructs a history for the young team and how the park plays into the overall rhetoric of DC. For my project, I took a tour of the ballpark, seeing the Presidential Lounge, the Washington Level suites, the clubhouse, and even throwing a pitch in the bullpen. Overall the tour yielded a surprising amount of interesting information and aspects of the stadium that will be useful in the analysis of the ballpark.
While the trip was great for seeing the sights of DC and visiting a number of offices around the District, one of the most memorable moments took place during a discussion I had with our professor Dr. Sara Drury and two of my fellow students. As we were walking between the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial we started discussing the ways those two memorials and the World War Two Memorial conveyed three very different messages when viewed at night. We talked about the lighting of the memorials, the presence or lack thereof of seating, the size and layout, and even the positioning of the three memorials. Without going into copious detail, the conversation embodied the critical thinking that is the backbone of a Wabash education.
I’d like to thank Drs Sara Drury and Shamira Gelbman, Wabash College, my parents, and my classmates for making this phenomenal trip possible. Not only was the trip intellectually stimulating, but I also was able to solidify old friendships and make new ones. Last week when we flew out of Indianapolis I didn’t know what to expect. But one week, six memorials, a Capitol tour, a trip to NPR, and twelve games of euchre later, I can honestly say that an immersion trip to DC was a great way to spend a Spring Break.