CLU Students Experience Trump’s Inauguration

California Lutheran University students Makaila Warga and Matthew Standsberry had the opportunity to attend presidential inauguration events Jan. 20 while studying abroad in Washington, D.C.

“Despite political views, being at a historic event was very moving and life-changing in the sense that not many people in their lifetime will get the chance to go to D.C. to see the Inauguration,” Warga said.

Standsberry and Warga said they both were situated in areas where one needed tickets to attend as opposed to the public streets.

“I had a ticket to a restricted area where you had to go through a full secret service screening so it was really safe. The crowd was really friendly, and it was really an incredible atmosphere because everyone was there for the purpose of witnessing history,” Standsberry said in an email interview.

Warga also said the crowds were remarkably calm.

“The media really made it seem like it was a scarier event than it was. I was expecting there to be more protests in the crowds, but there was only one tiny one that broke out, at least in the secured section. Nothing crazy was going on, it was just the normal event that you would expect in an inauguration,” Warga said.

Warga, Standsberry and Warga’s roommate Samantha Stohlman, who attends Concordia University Wisconsin, were able to hear President Trump’s Inaugural address.

“Trump spoke about unity and patriotism in ways I hadn’t heard throughout the election,” Stohlman said.

“[It was] definitely a speech we have yet to hear from any other presidents. It was a lot different, and different doesn’t mean bad,” Warga said.

The students also arrived early and were able to witness many of the various activities and performances during the inauguration.

“I got chills as I listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing our national anthem and fellow Americans joined in harmony. It was all so surreal, the excitement was all around and there was so much hope in the air regardless of dissenting opinions,” Stohlman said.

Standsberry, a double major in political science and criminal justice, said he chose to come to Washington, D.C. this semester with the purpose of being there for the Inauguration.

“I think it is really what you make it and I am thrilled to be here especially at this time with all the new changes,” Standsberry said in an email interview.

Warga, a criminal justice major with a minor in legal studies, said that she had actually been planning to study abroad in Washington, D.C. in fall 2017, but decided to move it up to this semester.

“The fact that things worked out the way they did, it was because it was supposed to happen, and definitely a great experience,” Warga said.

Warga and Stohlman also attended the Inaugural Ball later that night.

“There were two balls, the Liberty Ball and the Freedom Ball. I was at the Freedom Ball, and within 30 minutes of being there President Trump showed up and we got to see the first dance with the first lady,” Warga said.

Warga and Standsberry have already noticed some change in Washington, D.C.

“The mood is a little different after the Inauguration, more hopeful and optimistic, but also everyone is wondering what is going to happen next. There is a huge attention being paid to the news and to the new president to see what he is going to do,” Standsberry said in an email interview.

“It was a celebration of democracy. We are in the midst of everything changing, so I get to be here when those changes take place,” Warga said.

Rebecca Austin
Staff Writer