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Immersion Learning 101: Impromptu Capitol Visit

Posted by on Monday, February 6, 2017 in News, The Nation's Health.

Vanderbilt Professor Gilbert Gonzales (left) and students from The Nation's Health attended the State of the State address on Jan. 30

Vanderbilt Professor Gilbert Gonzales (left) and students from The Nation’s Health attended the State of the State address on Jan. 30

One benefit to teaching and learning at Vanderbilt is its location in Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. On January 30, 2017, Governor Bill Haslam delivered the State of the State address to the Tennessee General Assembly, and hundreds of political demonstrators were scheduled to appear at the capitol to protest and support various causes. This event provided a timely opportunity to visit the capitol to observe political rallies and demonstrations. Students from the University Courses “The Nation’s Health: From Policy to Practice” had a chance to experience firsthand the sights and sounds of hundreds of protestors in the rotunda of the capitol. Here’s what some students had to say about our impromptu visit.

“It was so interesting to see politicians interacting with the protest. Some joined protesters chanting behind the ropes, many took pictures and videos, some went around shaking hands and thanking protesters, and others walked straight into the speech, stone faced without acknowledgment. It was great to see politicians as actual people, and know that, at least, they had to physically hear the protests. That kind of in-person impact is essential.”
Abby Jacobs (Senior)
Classical Civilizations & Medicine, Health & Society

capitol 5“I found the rally included a very moving crowd. Unlike at school, where most people want to talk about politics or social issues in a cerebral or intellectual way, the environment at the capitol was passionate and urgent. I was taken aback by the unity I felt with a crowd made of diverse individuals, who, if you spoke with them, would share a variety of reasons for their attendance. If everyone took the time to influence their leaders so directly, I imagine we may have a more responsive legislative body.”
Telyse Masaoay (Sophomore)
Sociology & Medicine, Health & Society

“Once at the capitol, my eyes were opened as the throng of protesters from all walks of life were present representing countless groups and protesting policies ranging from abortion to healthcare to education to gun laws to immigration and more. I have come to learn that educating yourself on what is occurring in politics is important, now more than ever, and equally as important: taking the time to be engaged and put my voice out there matters. They are listening and we should be watching and speaking.”
Jason Fromal (Senior)
Medicine, Health & Society

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