Trip to D.C. helps UCLA students forge new relationships

Civic EngagementStudents

Vanessa Gaytan isn’t trying to spend her time at UCLA with blinders on, but she, like many students, can sometimes find herself stuck in a silo of her academic track and ambitions.

“I’m in my own clubs and organizations, and it’s hard to meet people out of that with our busy schedules,” said Gaytan, a third year psychology major looking to add applied linguistics to her studies. She is a member of the UCLA Academic Advancement Program, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences.

To help accomplish her goal of building new relationships with her UCLA classmates, Gaytan was one of 22 students who recently went to Washington, D.C. with Chancellor Block as part of his annual trip that offers a diverse array of students an insider’s taste of politics and also experiences outside of their prospective campus bubbles.

Gaytan had heard about the trip, now in its fourth year, from a friend, and knew she wanted to apply to be a part of the cohort.

“We did so many fun activities,” Gaytan said shortly after returning from the nearly weeklong trip. “My favorite part was getting to know the other students.”

In addition to the students, a few faculty and staff joined Block on the trip to the nation’s capital.

“As a public university, UCLA has a strong interest in developing our students’ leadership and problem-solving skills,” Block wrote in his winter quarterly update. “That means helping them develop the capacity to wrestle with complex questions, understand the challenges of setting policy and appreciate the importance of dialogue and compromise — particularly as our nation struggles with its own deep divisions.”

Read more on UCLA Newsroom.