From the National Mall: Inauguration inspires patriotism in FDU-Vancouver student
Waving stars and stripes, FDU-Vancouver student Tendayi Mushava soaks in the atmosphere of the crowd at the 2013 presidential inauguration. (Photos courtesy of Mushava)
By Kenna Caprio
She braved the cold. She waved an American flag. She soaked up the energy of the crowd. And she traveled 2,895 miles to stand on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.
“I’m amazed at how patriotic Americans are,” says Tendayi Mushava, a 19-year-old sophomore from Zimbabwe studying international business and finance at FDU-Vancouver. “It makes me feel proud of my own country. It’s so surprising to see how passionate people can be about their identity and country.”
It’s not surprising that the inauguration affected Mushava deeply; she’s determined to become a global citizen. “I would like to work at an international organization. My dream job would be to work at the IMF (International Monetary Fund) or World Bank. I will go back home to Zimbabwe, eventually, but would like to work abroad and gain exposure first,” she says.
As a globally-minded high school student in Zimbabwe, Mushava participated in the Global Young Leaders Conference. The conference brings youth representatives from around the world together, often to D.C. or New York, and fosters their leadership skills. Those attendees are then invited to the Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Conference, held every four years. Mushava was amongst the alums to accept the offer.
At the 2013 conference, which ran from Jan. 19-23, participants received an introduction to inaugural ceremonies and Electoral College history and toured the city. The group also heard speakers including former Governor Jeb Bush, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Mary Matalin and James Carville.
Mushava’s favorite speakers were Matalin, a conservative political consultant, and her husband Carville, a liberal political commentator. “‘There are two kinds of people: those who make rain and those who get rained on,’” she says, quoting Carville. Matalin discussed the importance of a positive attitude with the conference-goers. The politically-opposed couple also made trademark, good-natured jokes at one another’s expense.
Throngs of inauguration attendees fill the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The real highlight of the trip for Mushava, though, was standing in the crowd as President Obama took his second oath of office. “People were so happy and energetic. That atmosphere you can’t get at home. It’s something to experience,” she says.
While Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce’s performances thrilled her, Mushava considered the president’s speech to be truly impactful. “I followed the campaign. After that speech I had no doubts, he’s the right person (to lead).”
Back at FDU-Vancouver now, the Global Scholar says she’s getting excited about transferring to the Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck, N.J. next semester. “I want to do my post-grad in the United States. It seems to make more sense to have an early start,” she says. “I love the cultural diversity at FDU. Learning with people from all over the globe just makes it richer.”