Poli-Sci/IR Liaison took 19 students on D.C. trip free of charge


Photo courtesy of Audrey Grant.

Olivia Ray, Editor-in-Chief

The Political Science and International Relations (Poli-Sci/IR) Liaison led 19 students on an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. from March 5-10, over Simmons’ spring break. All majors and class years were eligible to apply. 

All 19 students who attended were provided with transportation, hotel stay, and three meals a day free of charge. Students also received commemorative matching t-shirts. According to Audrey Grant, Poli-Sci-IR Liaison Vice President and third year in the 3+1 Masters in Public Policy program, the liaison was able to obtain the funding through the Student Government Association (SGA).

According to Grant, “as long as [the trip] benefits the community, it can be paid for [through specific SGA funds].” Grant said the liaison aimed to make the trip open to everyone and fun for all. “[The liaison’s] mission is to connect students to be more politically involved.” 

Simmons first-years Paulina Rodas and Thea Forrest and junior Social Work major Erin Pollard said that the lack of financial burden was a major contributing factor to their decision to attend. 

For Rodas, an international student from Honduras, the trip was a way to “get to know the country more.” 

Grant spearheaded the organization of the D.C. trip, saying the trip “started with an offhand comment,” and came to fruition after a full year of planning and budgeting. 

According to Grant, she created six estimated budgets for the trip based on length, activities, and number of people attending. The final budget then had to be approved by the Center for Leadership and Engagement and the Student Financial Office portion of SGA.

Grant emphasized the liaison’s goal to make the trip schedule flexible to accommodate the interests of all participants. For example, the liaison offered seven options for potential Smithsonian Museum visits, and had participants vote on three to attend. The liaison also built a free day into the schedule where students could revisit their favorite museums and sightsee independently. 

The highlights of the itinerary were a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol Building and a night monument tour. 

According to Grant, the trip was the “first of its kind that’s purely for student enjoyment that was created by a student organization.” 

Grant, Pollard, Forrest, and Rodas all expressed the hope that the Poli-Sci/IR Liaison D.C. Trip will become a bi-yearly tradition.

“It may have had an even bigger impact than I realized,” said Grant.