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Students eager to learn about Gephardt at orientation events

Engage Democracy Fellow Eric Reiter talks with a fellow graduate student at the Graduate and Professional Student Resource Fair & Fare on Sunday, Aug. 20, while Civic Engagement Manager Otto Brown stands at the ready to talk to students about the ways they can get involved through the Gephardt Institute.

From the Danforth campus to the School of Medicine and even the St. Louis Zoo, the Gephardt Institute is involved with orientation efforts to meet with students of every background at WashU. In the incoming class of 2027 alone, there is representation from all 50 states and 33 other countries. Over half of the class identifies as students of color and a quarter of the class identifies as underrepresented students of color (URSOC). The institute’s orientation events aim to serve as a common ground where students and their families can discover the breadth of civic engagement opportunities at WashU and find a path to involvement that aligns with their background and civic interests. 

“There are many more events to come in the next two weeks. It’s been fun to travel all across campus, meeting a plethora of new students. I even met someone from Argentina—which is exciting because my family is from there,” Sophie Devincenti said of the tabling events Gephardt attended thus far.  

Devincenti explained that the institute’s outreach includes panels, presentations, staffing tables, and more at a wide range of undergraduate and graduate events. Through this effort, Devincenti—among other Gephardt staff—can promote the many pathways to civic engagement she hopes speak to students’ desire to make a difference. 

“We have a really intentional, thoughtful lineup of fall events and programs that are responsive to student needs and interests. And people notice that intentionality and are drawn towards it,” said Devincenti.  

A comprehensive list of the Gephardt Institute’s upcoming events and programs can be found here.