Incoming Freshmen’s Visit to Washington Landmarks Highlight Quill Camp: Republic

George Mason University students visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. during Quill Camp: Republic
At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.’s West Potomac Park. Photos by Ron Aira/Creative Services

The second Quill Camp season brought together dozens of incoming students for multiday, extended orientation activities designed to immerse freshmen with college life and familiarize them with new surroundings as they embark on their academic careers at George Mason University.

The idea, say the camp organizers at Mason’s Office of New Student and Family Programs, is to help new students discover friends, make connections, find mentors, meet faculty and staff members, and learn their way around the Mason campuses ahead of the stimulating rush of “regular” orientation. The students, many of them from distant home towns, selected their camp from six themes, choosing the most appropriate for their individual interests.

Quill Camp: True Crime was an immersive experience into criminal justice (including observing mock crime scenes and criminal trials); the Vision camp offered students a chance to explore leadership and service opportunities in Northern Virginia; Sneak Peak offered night-cycling and base-camping outings; and Project Peak, taking place August 15-18, takes students into the wild for a four-day, three-night camping/canoeing/multisport excursion (registration is full).

University photographer Ron Aira traveled in mid-July with the 20 participants in Quill Camp: Republic to capture in images their adventure to the landmarks of Washington, D.C. The students, many of them majoring in undergraduate courses taught by professors in the Schar School of Policy and Government, received a condensed tutorial in how national, state, and local governments function, in addition to visiting the international landmarks.

Mason photographer Ron Aira captures the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. during Quill Camp: Republic
The familiar dome and columns of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial loom in the distance over the Tidal Basin.
George Mason University students join together at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during Quill Camp: Republic
Quill Camp: Republic counsellors Rebecca Boyd, left, and Angele Cipriotti share a laugh from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.
George Mason University students join together at the Abraham Lincoln statue in Washington D.C. during Quill Camp: Republic
Quill Camp participants pose in front of one of the most iconic statues in the world, Daniel Chester French’s Abraham Lincoln. The statue was dedicated in 1922.
Jade Durant from Mason’s New Student and Family Programs prepares students to return back to the Fairfax Campus after Quill Camp: Republic
New Student and Family Programs’ Jade Durant calls the campers back to the bus for the return trip to the Fairfax Campus.