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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‘Out here to support Obama’

 An update from Marc, a sophomore communication studies major:

Walking through D.C. on Inauguration Day sounds a little like walking through a tunnel full of auctioneers. On every block merchants line the streets shouting prices as they peddle pictures of the president printed on every possible piece of merchandise. One vendor in particular caught my attention. After striking up a conversation with her, I learned that selling souvenirs is much more to her than just a way to earn money.

“Momma Obama” from North Carolina

Jocelyn “Momma Obama” Walker has been volunteering with the Obama campaign since 2008. Part of the original grass-roots movement for President Obama in her home state of North Carolina, Momma Obama earned her name going door to door for miles talking to friends, neighbors, and complete strangers about the future President.

“Young folks, old folks, men, women, white, black, Obama is here for everybody, and that’s why I love him so much,” said Walker. “I love seeing all the different people out here to support Obama.”

Despite recently being diagnosed with cystinuria, Momma Obama still managed to volunteer at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last year. She says that working for something she believed in made her forget about the pain. Still devoted to the cause, Momma Obama took a bus from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., to sell T-shirts, buttons, posters, and other presidential memorabilia for the inauguration.

The pride and devotion of men and women like Momma Obama are a reminder of how much this inauguration means to so many Americans.

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