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Whig-Clio trip to expose students to education reform

Eight students will be going to Washington, D.C., to study education reform through a Breakout trip sponsored by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society this fall break, Whig-Clio president Adam Tcharni ’15 said.

“When I came in as president, one of my goals was to establish community service for Whig-Clio,” Tcharni said. This Breakout trip, he added, is a part of that goal.

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The trip is structured much like a traditional Pace Center Breakout trip, Tcharni said, but unlike most Breakout trips, it will be completely subsidized.

Similar to the Breakout trips, the applications for this trip will be available to the entire student body, not only members of Whig-Clio, according to Whig-Clio vice president Pia Sur ’16. However, preference will be given to members of Whig-Clio.

Tcharni said his hope is to give students a holistic experience with tackling an interest issue with like-minded students.

“I hope it’ll give students who are interested and passionate about education reform some greater exposure to the issue and also inspire some people who were on the fence about it,” Tcharni said.

Lara Norgaard ’17, Whig-Clio’s director of community outreach, explained that Whig-Clio decided not to go through the Pace Center in organizing the trip because it wanted the trip to be focused on continuing involvement in Whig-Clio.

Though Norgaard will not physically be present during the trip, she is organizing it and explained that the agenda for the week will include community service work, visiting charter schools and reading to kids as well as speaking with officials.

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Norgaard said her hope is that the trip can foster awareness for education-related issues in Princeton and other Mercer County areas and at the national level through conversations with politicians and nonprofit organizations.

“The idea is for the participants of the trip to connect what’s going on at the national level with what happens at the local level,” she said.

Norgaard said the students are likely to meet with officials like U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx, various groups from the Department of Education and other representatives. By meeting with these officials, she said participants will be more aware of the surrounding context when they meet the charter school students later in the week.

The participants will hopefully come out of the trip with a better understanding of the issue, Norgaard said, and will hopefully be interested in getting more involved with education reform issues or other community involvement issues around the University.

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"It would be something that I'd be interested in if it was more of an academic interest to me," said Ryan Spaude ’16, a member of Whig-Clio. "Right now, ed reform is important, but it's not a hot topic, so I might be interested in something else."

Though Spaude does not intend to go on the trip, he added that he is glad other students will be able to go on the trip.

According to Tcharni, applications will be released this week and trip itineraries will be made public following the selection of participants.

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