The inauguration of the President of the United States is a ceremony in which the president takes the oath of office and then delivers the Inaugural Address. On Jan. 20, many US citizens took to their screens to watch Donald Trump be sworn into office.
Approximately 700,000 to 900,000 people attended Trump’s inauguration, according to the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Activities. One of the people who had the opportunity to attend this historic event was Whittier College’s ownsophomore Lilly Grossman.
For Jan Term, Grossmandecided to attend a two week academic seminar called Presidential Inauguration 2017 hosted by The Washington Center. According to Grossman, the objective of the course was to elevate political discourse.
Given the title of the seminar, Grossman was under the impression that everyone in the seminar was attending the inauguration. Soon, she found out that those who wished to attend had to contact their Congress representative and hope that the representative would be able to arrange for them to get a ticket for the event. Luckily for Grossman, she happened to have a meeting with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (Democrat) a couple days before the inauguration and was able to get ticket from Gillibrand.
When she met with Gillibrand, Grossman said that she also had the opportunity to meet other people who work in the world of politics. “I really enjoyed being able to hear from various experts who work within the political world,” she said. “I was able to meet award-winning journalists who write about politics, and that was a really great experience.”
Despite the controversy surrounding Trump’s presidency, Grossman found the experience life changing and inspirational. “Although I am not the biggest fan of our new President, it is what it is,” Grossman said. “At the end of the day, as one of my closest friends said, ‘We are all still Americans’. For me, it was about attending purely for the experience. Not many Americans can say they attended a presidential inauguration, regardless of whether or not they liked who was being sworn in.”
The trip also offered Grossman insight on the world of politics that has since inspired her post-graduation. “Before I went to D.C., I didn’t have a set goal for what I wanted to do after graduation, and I’m lucky to have been able to figure it out while I was there, so I can start focusing on my future,” she said. “I want to live in D.C. and either be a political journalist or a politician.”