Sparking Wanderlust

Introducing the D.C. Experience

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

In hopes of sparking a passion for new experiences and personal growth, all of Coker’s incoming freshman for the 2017-2018 academic year, approximately 250 individuals, will participate in a ‘common experience’ and travel together to Washington, D.C. in September for three days of immersion into the capital’s history and culture.  

Part of Coker’s Trans4mations program requires that every traditional undergraduate student participate in a study away experience, which falls into a variety of categories, including internships, field study, or interim courses that take place anywhere from Scotland to China to Hawaii to New York. For this year's incoming class, that requirement will be fulfilled at the beginning of their first semester as they travel to D.C. with classmates. The purpose of study away and the D.C. Experience is to help students develop confidence in getting outside their comfort zones and broadening their perspectives through unique experiences. No matter where they go, students gain the confidence to adapt to unfamiliar situations—a skill that benefits them not only during their time in college, but for the rest of their lives.

During the D.C Experience, students will visit historic sites throughout the nation’s capital with guidance from Coker faculty and staff. This opportunity is made available through the Coker Advantage package and is part of the Coker College 101 (CC101) course required for all first-year students. CC101 instructors will design “tracks” for each CC101 class. The tracks are unique academic experiences that will allow students to explore the historic sites of the nation’s capital.

For example, one track might focus on discovering D.C.’s media history through guided trips to NPR headquarters and the Newseum. Another may discover science and nature through a visit to the C&O Canal National Historical Park and a hike along the Potomac River gorge.  

Darlene Small, assistant dean and director of Trans4mations, says, “This common experience is designed as an opportunity for our students to participate in intentional exploration that allows them to be actively engaged in expanding their knowledge of our nation's capital while stimulating their intellectual curiosity, which we believe will encourage further exploration of the wider world while at Coker and beyond.  It is a shared unique experience that, in addition to forming bonds of friendship, will also give them a sense of what it means to belong to the Coker community and the transformative advantage of a Coker College education.”

Each CC101 class will experience their track together as a group. It will give students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to get acquainted and comfortable with each other through a bonding experience.

“This will truly be a common experience for these students are they begin their college career with us, fostering the sense of community found at Coker and better preparing them to be successful in their Coker and future endeavors,” says Whitney Watts, dean of student success.

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