FACS students recently visited Washington, D.C. as part of the summer study tour, a trip that included with a visit with a Supreme Court justice.
Students in the financial planning, housing and consumer economics department in the study tour are enrolled in a six-week, six credit-hour course that includes a week-long trip to the nation’s capital.
The purpose of the program is to provide an in-depth study of consumer and housing programs and policies at the federal level, with an emphasis on consumer issues. The program, started by Dr. Anne Sweaney about 20 years ago, is currently led by FHCE professor Dr. Diann Moorman.
Students have the opportunity to meet and interact with a variety of private and government officials in Washington, D.C.
This year, students visited the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank, World Bank, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Housing and Urban Development, the Pentagon, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, the White House, the Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, museums and even a Nationals-Braves baseball game.
The program also hosts a dinner with FACS alumni in the area.
“In D.C. we are out of the door at 7 in the morning and went until 5 or 6 at night,” Moorman said. “It equals the amount of contact hours of a full semester, so the week in D.C. counts as a class in and of itself.”
The other five weeks of class are held in Athens, where students learn about policies and programs they will encounter in D.C. Students meet after the trip as well to wrap up the program.
“This year was special because we got the chance to meet Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas,” Moorman said. “It was so cool. He was very personable and friendly and got to know the students on their level. We met with him on Tuesday, and the Supreme Court session ended that Friday. We were there when they made the three big decisions of this session. We were totally thrilled.”
Students also had the opportunity to meet U.S. senators Johnny Isakson and David Purdue and U.S. Representative John Lewis, a prominent figure of the civil rights movement who marched with Dr. Martin King, Jr.
“I will never forget this day I met a piece of America’s history in the flesh, a man who looked adversity in the face and still walked right into it,” said student Kevin White.
“We discussed consumer policy and protection issues and their impact on consumers,” FHCE student Melissa Visbal said. “I have learned and seen so much in just one week while being surrounded by wonderful classmates which I now consider friends. I suggest anyone in FACS at UGA to take this class because you will not regret a single moment of it.”
Moorman said the best part about the program is that it opens up so many doors for students.
“You’ve got this whole group of students that normally wouldn’t meet each other who now get the chance to work together on group projects and presentations,” she said. “In D.C., they become a cohesive group and when they come back they have friendships that they would not have had otherwise. It also opens the door for jobs. In D.C. they love our students, and they want them after graduation.”
The study tour is open to all majors, not just FHCE students.
“What is so cool about this program is that it breaks down barriers,” Moorman said. “Our program is truly changing lives.”
For more information about the D.C. study tour, go here.
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