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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Reactions to the Inauguration

An update from Katelyn, a journalism and theatre double major who is blogging about Inauguration weekend on smudailycampus.com, where this post originally was published:

Americans flooded the streets of D.C. this morning, showing loyal support for the nation’s leader in whatever ways they could; even if it meant waiting in freezing temperatures for several hours on the grass in front of the Capitol.

Katelyn at the Inauguration (credit: The Daily Campus)

After both Biden and Obama were publicly sworn in a little before noon, the President began his second term with an address calling the country’s people to build a future for equality and prosperity. Specifically, he mentioned matters of climate change, the economy, education, gay rights, and immigration, among others.

Amy Hernandez, a Maryland native, said that the being surrounded by thousands of people all waving the same American flag created an especially strong sense of unity.

“Having the people around, it’s an awesome feeling,” Hernandez continued.

Obama’s notes on gay rights held special meaning for Hernandez herself.

“Being a lesbian, it’s awesome to be in the city and be a part of this.”

Pamela Waylock, who traveled from Pittsburgh for her first Inauguration, believes “everybody can relate to the struggles” for equality and opportunity that Obama emphasized in his address.

“He helped give us that boost of confidence that he’s going to do what he said he was going to do in his campaign.”

Many others in the crowd echoed the same sentiments, including Kristen Hayes, who attended the previous Inauguration as well. Despite attendance overall being lower, Hayes insisted that “it’s the same energy” that could be felt during Obama’s optimistic speech on unity.

“It was very inspirational and I think it speaks to his plans for next four years,” Hayes said.

The President’s address and the audience reactions were ones of prudent optimism and awareness of the work that needs to be done to continue moving forward.

Obama said, “We are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together.”

Also follow student journalists on Twitter: #SMUinDC

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