Sixteen Baker University students won’t just be earning credit between semesters this winter, they’ll also get a chance to witness a little history, too.
They will be traveling with their professor, Lee Green, to Washington, D.C., to witness the inauguration ceremonies for soon-to-be President Barack Obama.
It’s an experience that Eris Blaser, a Baker senior from Waterville, has been looking forward to for months.
“I’ve been a Barack Obama fan from the beginning,” Blaser says. “It’s history in the making, and to be a part of that is amazing.”
Green, a professor of business, has been taking students to presidential inaugurations since George H.W. Bush’s term began in 1989.
He says he hopes the class will inspire students to enter into careers where they could help their fellow citizens.
“They all have different majors, but the one goal these students all have is that they all aspire to careers in public service,” he says.
Kendra Hanson, a political science major and a junior from Salina, says she has been looking forward to the trip ever since arriving on campus.
“I actually didn’t vote for Obama, but I’m very excited to be there at such a historic time,” she says.
The students are footing the $1,650 bill to travel to Washington for more than a week, during which they will learn about the history of the city, Green says, visiting museums and monuments, among other sites.
Hanson says she was particularly looking forward to hearing oral arguments in a U.S. Supreme Court case, as she intends to be a lawyer someday.
The group has secured tickets for a specific area of the National Mall from U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Green says, and airfare and lodging accommodations have been set for months.
Green says that while he’s been teaching the course for years, he can’t remember any time that it has been more popular than this year.
The class filled up before the winner of the presidential contest was known, but Green says he fielded many more calls and e-mails than in the past about the availability of spots after Obama was declared the winner.
He says the historic nature of the inauguration, with the swearing-in of the nation’s first African-American president, and the general feelings that Obama’s supporters have toward him likely sparked the additional interest.
“I think it’s just the sense of hope that’s been engendered by president-elect Obama,” he says.