The Dynamic Half Block: A Unique Academic Opportunity

Every year, Colorado College offers Dynamic Half Blocks. These are programs or classes that fall between winter break and Block 5, this year taking place Jan. 9 through Jan. 18. Dynamic Half Blocks do not offer course credits but they often offer experiences that can’t be replicated within a normal block. One such program is the inauguration trip CC is offering for the first time this year.

“This would be the third dynamic Half Block which is conducted off-campus,” said faculty member and trip advisor, Susan Ashley. “It’s a great deal because the expenses are covered by the college.”

The inception of the trip is attributed to trip advisor Elizabeth Coggins, an assistant professor in the Political Science Department.

“Elizabeth came across a program that the Smithsonian Institution runs for college students,” said Ashley.

Dean of Students Mike Edmonds liked the idea and supported Coggins in helping the opportunity come to fruition. According to Ashley, Edmonds has been instrumental in funding the off-campus Dynamic Half Blocks. 

There was a great interest in this Dynamic Half Block. According to Ashley, around 60 students applied to fill 12 spots. One student, senior and Political Science major Anna Squires, said her motivation for applying was to witness history.

“I remember crying in school when Obama was inaugurated,” said Squires. “I wanted to see that the presidency could become a diverse position and see history move forward.” Despite having different expectations regarding the 2016 election results, she chose to remain on the trip. This was a difficult decision for Squires. 

“I hate to say that I felt angry, but I did,” said Squires. “Election night was a blow and I felt an incredible amount of anxiety and fear the next day.” Squires still believes the opportunity is a great one and she hopes to leave D.C. with a story to tell.

Another student on the trip, senior Samantha Saccomanno, also struggled with the election results but ultimately decided to stay on the trip.

“There are other students on the trip that I’m friends with, that, like me, had the intention to see the first female be elected president,” said Saccomanno. “Obviously that wasn’t the outcome.”

Saccomanno had friends and family asking her if she would still go after the election results came in.

“I kind of had a different perspective after I slept on it and hit the punching bag the next day,” said Saccomanno. “I definitely had my doubts about still going for a brief couple of hours, but the more I thought about it, it’s still an incredible opportunity to go to D.C.” This will be Saccomanno’s first time in D.C., so she is excited for more than just the inauguration.

“I am really excited to see President Obama along with the general inauguration process,” said Saccomanno. “I’m not sure yet if we’ll be able to do the Million Woman March on Sunday, but if we do that is also something I am also looking forward to.”

The Million Woman March is a march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol building to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. The protest is taking place Jan. 21, one day after inauguration.

Despite the controversy associated with the election, no students have dropped out of the Dynamic Half Block inauguration trip, according to Ashley.

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