President Burger Takes Two SU Students to DC

By: Clara McMichael

“Run, Forrest, run!” yelled a little kid.

Tristan Evans, a sophomore double major in theatre and business, did not appreciate the comment.  She was dragging her suitcase and sprinting through the airport in high heels, right on the tails of her traveling companions: fellow sophomore Jasper Stone and Southwestern University President Edward Burger.

Their flight had been delayed, and they ended up running through two different terminals of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in order to catch the next flight to Austin.

“We made our flight with 3 minutes to spare,” Evans said.

Evans was returning from a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. with Burger and Stone. Evans and Stone had both interned for Burger last fall semester and worked with his class “Effective Thinking/Problem Solving.” Burger took the duo to D.C. as a kind of culmination to the internship. They were in D.C. from March 12 to March 14.

The trip largely consisted of meeting with Southwestern alumni.

“Our main job was to connect with alumni and tell them what was going on at Southwestern,” Evans said.

Burger, Evans and Stone attended the D.C. alumni chapter event, where Burger updated the alumni on campus news, including the catalog change.

“They asked a bunch of questions,” Evans said.  “They were very invested in things that were happening on campus.”

Burger, Evans and Stone then met one-on-one with two other alumni – one who works for a media company, and one who works for an environmental awareness nonprofit.

“Both of them majored in things that were totally different than what they were doing,” Evans said.  “It was cool to get their advice and to know that what you’re majoring in doesn’t have to decide what your career is.”

They also met with Republican Congressman Pete Sessions, a Southwestern Board of Trustees member and an alumnus from 1978.

“It was a weird Twilight Zone moment,” Evans, a staunch liberal, said.  “He’s crazy conservative but he was really genuine and really nice.  He wanted to know a lot about Jasper and myself and he was very personable.”

The group discussed Sessions’ funding to the school – Evans said that he provides many scholarships and grants.

“With Pete Sessions, we talked about his funding to the school – he provides a lot of scholarships and grants that students use.  We made sure he knew that’s a thing that students appreciate and utilize.”

Evans said that she valued the connections she had made with alumni.  

“It was cool to make those connections and realize that a lot of people are super proud of coming to Southwestern, and the real life ways in which Southwestern can affect what you end up doing.”

Burger, Evans and Stone also took time to visit tourist attractions during their brief trip.They went on a private tour of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which was “amazingly beautiful,” in the words of Evans, who got to stand on the stage of one of the theatres. They also toured the Capitol Building.