Kemeny courtyard bee on a yellow flower close up
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Interfaith DC group in our advisor Ellie's office in the Tucker Center

A macro view of the trip timeline: this trip had an application in the fall term, and I was then accepted. In winter term we have been having 90-minute meetings once a week and weekly tasks outside of the meetings. The trip occurs over spring break; to be specific it is a 10-day trip with the first and final days for travel (so we spend eight days in DC). After the trip, in the spring term, we do a project that has some flexibility but has to do with a larger 'so what?' question about the importance of the trip.

The group dynamic in our preparatory meetings during the winter term has been wonderful. In our first couple of meetings, through a collaborative effort, we defined some guardrails (something my advisor is fond of, and she is also the advisor for the LLC). Guardrails are group expectations, such as speaking for your own experience not your whole worldview (beliefs, which can be a faith or secular), being actively engaged with the group in and out of meetings, and assuming that others have good intentions. Our group has also been making our best effort amidst the busy Dartmouth term to form a family of sorts, we have been stopping to chat when we see one another and eating some meals together. One thing that will likely reinforce this aspect of the group is that we are staying in an Airbnb house while we are in DC so that we can hang out and talk about our experience after the day's activities are over. 

We have weekly tasks outside of the meetings, and my advisor refers to them as challenges since she knows that we are very busy with academics and do not always have time to do everything that she would like us to get done. Some of these challenges were reading a book chapter, reading letters about the separation of church and state written by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, researching key figures such as Dorothy Day and Abraham Joshua Heschel, and giving presentations about our different worldviews. We were each tasked with reaching out to certain organizations as well; for example, I chose universities, and we will be going to two universities. 

A micro view of the trip timeline: in terms of the eight days we have several items on our itinerary, in terms of broad categories we have: houses of worship, universities, museums, Interfaith Alliance, and the Department of Education. It should be a great trip and I am looking forward to talking more about it in future posts!

A quick note on affordability: this particular trips costs are fully covered by the Tucker Center and when we applied we knew that the expectation is to help with a project in the spring as a continuation of the trip. Trips and programs at Dartmouth are financially accessible!

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