Day 2: Learning the city

Today’s highlights:

  • Five students met Ben Stein (yes, the Ben Stein)
  • Five students wandering near the White House ran into two recent Drake graduates, a complete coincidence
  • We learned the ropes of blogging from three Drake alumni who work for Atlantic Media
  • We dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant in Georgetown
  • We logged miles and miles, on foot and on metro, as we got our bearings in the city and learned how to navigate DC’s subway system

It was a nearly 14-hour day, and our feet were feeling it by the end, but what a great first full day in the city.

In groups of five, students were sent on a “scavenger hunt,” of sorts, for notable (and not-so-notable) landmarks and points of interest. They were to use only paper maps to navigate, to prepare them in case they should lose their smartphones or should cell service be disrupted. Each group was given an iPad to document their day in words, photos and video. Destinations included the Albert Einstein statue, Alexander Calder’s Red Horse, St. John’s Church, Kramerbooks and Afterwords bookstore and cafe, and the Watergate. You can read the students’ write-ups of their day:

Along the way, one group had a chance encounter with Ben Stein, who approached them near the Watergate and asked if they needed help with directions. (They did.) They were too starstruck to get a photo, but recovered nicely to tweet about it:

Picture 144

Another group, by pure serendipity, ran into 2012 grads Ann Schnoebelen, who recently moved to Washington to intern with the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Nate Baggett near the White House.

Picture 145

Students ended their excursion at the Watergate, which houses the offices of Atlantic Media. There we met alumni Matt Vasilogambros (2011) and Sarah Hall (2008),  of the National Journal, and Mark Micheli (2010), of Government Executive. They talked to us about blogging and social media, then joined us for dinner at Paper Moon in Georgetown. Then it was a metro ride home and a foggy walk back to our Washington Center building.

Tomorrow promises to be a little less strenuous. We begin our morning academic sessions with the 400-plus other students here for the Inauguration Seminar, and we’ll take a bus tour of the monuments in the afternoon.

Read the students’ posts for a full report of today. Meanwhile, here’s a photo gallery of some of our day.

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