Alex Hernandez ’14 – Friday was a phenomenal ending our trip. I was able to visit the National Education Association (NEA), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Indiana House Representative Luke Messer, Prime Policy (a lobbying) Group, and the Human Rights Campaign.
Due to the fact that I had to sign up for an appointment weeks prior to the trip, I was not able to have the grand tours of NAE and NCLR; however, I was still was able to interrogate the front desk on what their organizations stood for and what types of opportunities (i.e. internships and externships) they had, so it was not a total loss because this potentially gives me another reason to go back to D.C.
Following NEA and NCLR, my class and I were able to visit House Representative Messer and the Prime Policy Group.
Being a non-Indiana resident and not familiar with Indiana’s congressional representatives, I did not know who House of Representative Messer was or his platform. On the other hand, the way he interacted with us was pretty neat. Many people believe that politicians or those that hold high offices do not have a laid back personality because they have to continue with the professional façade, however he welcomed us with a big smile and a fraternal environment. He told us about his time at and after Wabash, which gave me a reassurance that Wabash College is worth all these sacrifices, especially being away from home. On a side note, I wonder if my Texas representatives, or even President Barack Obama, are able to interact with people a personal level.
After meeting with Congressman Messer, my class and I got to meet with the Prime Policy Group. Honestly, this group was my favorite of them all because of not only the panel but also because of what they do and what their organization stood for.
The work they did and the message that they conveyed through their organization is very impressive because they work from as much of a collective and bipartisan standpoint as possible. The sense of community that they created was concrete because they had to learn how to hear out and respect opposing ideas and beliefs. Somehow, to paraphrase what they said, we just agree to disagree. This polarization has weakened our government and society.
Personally, what stood out the most was the sense of unity and humility that our panel portrayed. Everybody in our panel were from different generations and backgrounds, but the way they interacted with each other and with us was just plain awesome. Even though they were from an earlier generation than ours, they were able to interact with each other and us as if they were in their twenties again; their diverse backgrounds and passion for their work, shows that their organization is a place to consider as a potential future workplace.
The Human Rights Campaign was another place that I enjoyed exploring. As a demonstration of the power of Wabash alumni, I was able to explore the organization because my host Gary James had his friend Noel, who works in HRC, take time out of his hectic schedule and give me a personal tour of the organization and the people. The interactions I had and the warm welcome that I received from this organization motivated me to apply to their summer internship, so wish me luck!
Overall, my Friday, as any other day in the week, was just plain awesome. D.C is a place that I see myself enjoying living in.