Hilltop on the Hill, 2013 Inauguration

Twenty-one communication studies and journalism students are in Washington, D.C., in January 2013 as part of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Hilltop on the Hill program. In addition to reporting on Inaugural events, the students will visit media and government sites, and meet with political communicators, journalists and SMU alumni. The trip is led by Rita Kirk, professor of communication studies; Daniel Schill, assistant professor of communication studies, and Carolyn Barta, journalism professor. Endowed by the Bauer Foundation, the Hilltop on the Hill program also takes students studying political communication to political party conventions and the G8 Economic Summit.

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Best way to spend $5 at the Inauguration

An update from James, a junior communication studies major and psychology and pre-law minor:

“One dollar! One dollar for the best present for your kid. Obama bookmarks here, one dollar!”

The Inauguration brought an influx of people and a variety of ages, ethnicities and cultures to the D.C. area. With this large surge of tourists and out-of-towners, the locals took full advantage of these rookies, selling all sorts of souvenirs on the streets as people walked to Monday’s Inaugural ceremony.  If you could write Obama on it, they could make it.

Obviously, I wanted every item these vendors were selling, but I only had $5. Now here were my options: T-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, hats, pants, socks, scarves, buttons and more. They ranged from classy T-shirts and posters to bookmarks and Obama condoms. Each was $5 dollars or less.

After watching the swearing-in ceremony, Dr. Rita Kirk, Hilltop on the Hill program director, gave us some free time to walk around and experience the 1,000 artists’ projects that we had been tweeting and writing about during the event. They were part of the A Thousand Artists group who were here from across the country to promote public art. They displayed their wares on the mall after the Inauguration.

After taking a look at a few pieces of art, I had to find the ultimate $5 gift at this event. While walking the three-mile semicircle back to our hotel, I stopped and glanced at every street vendor’s inventory. T-shirts, Nah. Posters, Nah. Obama condoms, warmer. Then that’s when I saw it out of the corner of my eye:  the sparking pink and white gem-bedazzled Obama hat. I nearly cried laughing. It was the perfect gift to remember this event because it had both the serious nature of Obama’s inauguration, yet a funny kick to it due to its bedazzlement.

Although this is not a gift I will keep for myself, I know it is going to look perfect on top of my sister’s head. Although this was a serious and incredible event to attend, it’s the little things that make you laugh, and that you will truly remember.

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