“Explore DC includes older AU student coordinators and leaders who come along for the tours and assist AU newcomers. Zach Hyvarinen is a sophomore who helped lead the team that visited CARECEN in Mount Pleasant. ‘I enjoyed it a lot last year. That’s why I’m back,’ he said. ‘I learned a lot about the city—the problems, but also how beautiful the city is.’
With that desire to see ‘the real DC,’ Hyvarinen said they’d avoid having lunch at a chain restaurant on Wednesday. The plan was to walk an extra block or two, to eat at a neighborhood establishment, he said. ‘Students are learning more about using the power of their dollar to make good choices in every day actions.”
I am fortunate to have volunteered with the Explore DC community immersion experience that I co-lead for a group of incoming students at American University. Mount Pleasant and southeast DC is often the forgotten area of the district, but the problems that exist there are very real. I am looking forward to taking part of the experience next year, but until then I will continue volunteering in the area and supporting the local businesses.