Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Orientation Day 1

I think I covered everything I can think of in terms of what you do in Claremont in preparation for the Washington Program. I'll add anything if I can think of it, but I figure I should tell people some things that they will encounter once they are in DC on the program.

Orientation is a 4 day program, and instead of trying to guess what goes on at a generic orientation (the events change slightly every year), I'll just give you a rundown of what happened at our orientation.

Although most of orientation was filled with trips to various sites around Washington, the first day was spent entirely at the CMC office. It started at 10:30 in the morning with Dr. Spalding welcoming us all. She handed out packets, we went over the schedule for the week, and got a little tour of the office (I'll have a post about the office later).

We then got Potbelly sandwiches, paid for by CMC (One of several lunches picked up by CMC during the week). Professor Haskell joined us for lunch. We went around the room and introduced ourselves for him, he displayed his impressive knowledge of our hometowns as well as his knowledge of local eateries.

Then was one of the more interesting parts of any orientation to which I have ever been. We got a "Session on safety and security in Washington, DC." We weren't really sure what to expect, we got a 6 foot 4 inch ex-marine by the name of Ken Barksdale. We learned about a CMC safe house that we were supposed to go to if the city of DC was evacuated. We learned how to react if someone grabs us, tries to use a knife, tries to use a gun, and grabs us from behind. He had us stand up in a circle, and practice the self-defense moves on him. So, we should pretty much be able to handle everything. Before he left, he gave us a CMC emergency packet, with a map to the safe house and what to do in the case of pretty much every different situation possible. He was one of the more interesting characters we encountered. As CMC Celeb Isaac Goldberg put in his recent Forum interview about his favorite unknown CMC tidbit:

"That the CMC Washington D.C. Program has an ex-Navy Seal in charge of student safety. He once told me, 'If you use the pepper spray, empty the can.'"

At the end of the security presentation, we got bright red emergency bags, which had boxed water, hand crank radio and flashlight, light stick, mask, goggles and more.

We ended the day by having our first class, Government 125 on Liberal Internationalism. We went over the syllabus and the expectations for the semester. We were each assigned a day to lead class discussion. The first presentation should be coming up next week from Carlos and Isaac.

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