Six Community Leadership and Civic Engagement majors spent three days in Washington, DC to learn more about advocacy, nonprofit organizations, and the political process. While in DC, they participated in meetings with nonprofit leaders and congressional staff, took a guided tour of the United States Capital building, toured monuments, visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and attended an NIU Alumni Association event. Students also learned about working in the nonprofit sector and how they should prepare themselves to pursue nonprofit careers.
Students were selected to participate through a competitive application process and received financial support covering airfare, lodging and meals from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Participants had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the following:
"While discussing advocacy with the different entities we had access to, I was amazed to learn the extent to which a nongovernmental organization can define the political dialogue in support of societal values." - Maria Torres
"This trip was incredibly insightful. Seeing recent graduates involved in very influential positions in both national politics and international non-governmental work was eye-opening." - Jacob Buckrop
"My favorite part of this trip was being able to see the way the field I have been studying actually works. Books give you essential information about Non-governmental organizations, while this trip enhances that knowledge and shows how much you have actually learned." - David Anians
"Meeting with the non-profits enlightened me on the importance of advocacy for these organizations. It's one thing to hear about it in class, but when you actually go out and talk to people who work for these international organizations and who do the hands-on work, it puts advocacy in a new light." - Isabelle Bourgeois
"After visiting these NGOs and seeing firsthand what they do, I have a better understanding and a bigger interest in possibly pursuing a career in advocacy." - Linda Feltes
"I think the most beneficial aspect of the trip was actually meeting the professionals who work behind the scenes for these great NGOs...I was surprised to learn that their past experiences were actually really varied. They all bring a unique skill set to the organization, but I did notice that few, if any, had a degree specifically in nonprofit studies. It makes me realize how fortunate we are to have this innovative major here at N.I.U." - Amanda Insalaco