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From the Hill to Capitol Hill

From the Hill to Capitol Hill

By Amanda Leon
On January 30, 2013

Every four years, a new president of the United States of America is elected into office. This past term was very special because the very first black president was re-elected into office.
Prairie View A&M University has been blessed to witness the inaugural celebration twice, although the first time only about 50 of our students and administrators were able to go. This time around, however, administrators felt moved to allow more students the opportunity to witness this historical event. About 250 of PVAMU students and administrators piled into five buses at the Memorial Student Center early Jan. 19 in order to arrive at the airport on time. The students arrived at their secured gate, checked in, and loaded the double-decker 747 aircraft.
Program coordinator Christian Leach said, "I thought it was really important for the students to go on this trip because a lot of students have never been on a plane, outside of Texas, or even outside of Houston. It was great that they could go and witness a part of history."  Once in Virginia, the group from Prairie View met with Adrian Collins PVAMU alumnus who worked closely with the President during the election. Collins expressed to the students the importance of constantly working hard and keeping a clean background in order to be successful.
 Administrators and students were allotted quite a bit of free time in which they were able to freely explore the city and surrounding areas. 
 "Not only were students able to go to the inauguration, but they were also able to go out on their own and visit the monuments, great food spots, and even other HBCUs like Howard," said Leach.  Historical sites such as the Martin Luther King, Lincoln, and Washington memorials, along with the White House seemed to be the most popular to visit by far. However, some made efforts to visit family, Howard University, and other surrounding cites.  On inauguration day, which happened to fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students were asked to arrive in the hotel lobby at 4 a.m. in order to be at the National Mall by 4:30 a.m.
 Students arrived at the National Mall, in front of the Capitol, where thousands of people would shortly be arriving. They stood and even lay on the platform in order to keep warm, since the inaugural ceremony would not begin until 11:30 that morning. 
 The National Mall quickly became packed with people as they anticipated the inaugural ceremony to start, watching from the big screens. Despite the crowding of the National Mall, there was an air of joy and peace all around. "I went the first time, but was happy to see that the energy and excitement was still there, even if we are not able to witness this again. My favorite part was the MLK Memorial because it gave us a chance to see a successful black man represented in the National Mall," said Student Government Association Vice President Jarrick Brown.
 Prairie View was also invited to a Texas A&M University System gathering to watch the parade inside a secured location. 
 Brown said, "The trip was very enlightening. It brought back a lot of school pride and school unity because we went all the way across the country to witness this historic day."


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