2019 Fall Break Immersion Trip Reflections

The St. Louis immersion trip introduced me to the city in a whole new way. By learning about both governmental forces and the nonprofit sector, I was able to gain a holistic understanding of what it means to build and participate in a thriving community. I have a clearer understanding of the historical and current forces that shape the city and a better sense of my own responsibility as a temporary citizen of St. Louis to contribute to the city positively and to seek out and listen to community voices.

–Molly Davis, Class of 2020

The Kinloch walking tour with Alana Flowers & her father resonated the most because hearing from them about this place that holds such importance in their life story, as we see it being consumed by “development” helps to contextualize the tradeoffs that are made in the name of “economic development”.   Most of our challenges are tied to how and where money is invested. The notion of “developing” a community can mean many things to different people – and should not be thought of as categorically good or bad.

–Noah Ford Rennert, Class of 2020

For me, the Fall Break Immersion Trip illuminated the imperative of combining policy with on-the-ground activism and conversations with community members. The unwillingness to bring residents impacted by displacement, gentrification, and disinvestment into conversations regarding the future of their neighborhoods and communities is incredibly harmful. I’m eager to continue learning about methods of advocacy that will bridge this disconnect in the city I call home.

–Carrie Phillips, Class of 2021

My biggest takeaway is that even though it’s difficult to engage in thoughtful dialogue with people that have vastly different opinions, it can be one of the most rewarding things to bridge the gap and to have those discussions.  How can you know how to best defend your argument if you don’t know the thoughts and justifications for the counter-argument?  How can we progress as a society if we don’t actively and intentionally work to close that gap?

Candace Hayes, Class of 2021

There is a lot going on in St. Louis, and it is very easy to get caught up in the rush of things at WashU while forgetting to actually invest our time in exploring the unequivocally complex yet very rich history of the city we live in. With me personally being from North County, there were a lot of things that I was unaware of politically and economically about the city, and the trip was very revealing. As a student, I have recognized that I have to be very careful with how much I allow the rush of WashU to infiltrate my life. Making time to value the city I live in is essential because if we as a university are “for St. Louis” but are complacent in the structures that inherently keep communities down, we are contributing to an act of injustice against St. Louis.

–Logan Phillips, Class of 2021