Bender takes honors seminar to Washington, D.C.Friday, January 27, 2017 - 10:15am
by Savanah Baker
Professor John Bender took 13 students to Washington, D.C., to learn about the importance of freedom of expression. This trip functioned as the conclusion to the fall semester honors seminar “Freedom of Expression” that is offered through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Bender and his students went to the Newseum, the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum among other national sites.
“The purpose is to follow up on things we talked about in the Freedom of Expression seminar,” Bender said. “We cover a lot of issues, primarily related to the media, but also related to how the government works…so it’s an opportunity for students to go and see the places we talked about.”
Professor Emeritus Charlyne Berens established the tradition of taking students to Washington, D.C. The seminar is one of many freshman honor seminars taught at University of Nebraska–Lincoln and has been offered by CoJMC since 1999.
“I think it’s most important for students to understand how (freedom of expression) contributes to self-government in a democracy,” Bender said. “(It) should be understood broadly and not just talked about during elections and with politics.”
Molly George, a graduate student in the CoJMC, was able to go on the trip because a student who initially signed up dropped out. She said the trip was important to her because of her pursuit of a career in professional journalism.
“The right to voice the way I view things or situations from my perspective without having to worry about being silenced by the government (is important),” George said. “(Washington, D.C.) kind of reminds you…that people had to fight for all the freedoms, like freedom of expression, and we take them for granted here.”
The trip took place Jan. 12 – Jan. 16. Students were almost fully funded through the Honors Program, which left them with only $80 and meals to cover for the rest.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Honors Program is “is a university-wide community of scholars—an intense intellectual experience for top students in a major research university setting. The Honors Program gives students who strive for academic excellence an opportunity to explore new knowledge through research, to participate actively in a process of discovery, and appreciate and respect a diversity of opinions.”