With SHSU gearing up for finals, the LEAP students didn’t spend a full day in Austin, but with help from veteran LEAP Ambassadors, they made the most of the time they had.
Following a late night (blogs submitted at 1:38am), Megan Chapa, Staci Antu, and Jennifer Holton awoke early to manage visits to the TX Capitol and the LBJ Presidential Library.
Texas Capitol Building
The visit to the Capitol was immensely rewarding, beginning with a short tour, where we learned that the TX Capitol:
Is the sixth tallest capitol building in the US and is, in fact, larger than the US Capitol;
- Is the largest in square footage (the extension alone is 670,000 feet);
has doors so heavy that 17.5 pound door hinges are required.
Of course, a highlight was the “whispering gallery” in the rotunda, where you can stand, speak, and hear your own instantaneous echo.
We also saw the old Texas Supreme Court building, a small room in the Capitol! It’s really no wonder they moved.
It wasn’t all fun and games. Christina Perez, intern for Rep. Jim Murphy, led us on a tour of the Capitol building, where we learned a lot and had some fun, too!
Part of the fun was visiting the offices of the interns with whom we shared dinner the night before. It was a great chance to see their work environment, learning more about how things work, and seeing their passion for their job.
Alex Galvan, Brian Aldaco (who showed off his fancy lobbyist-provided calculator), and Karla Rosales served as office guides.
Christina also took us to the House and Senate galleries, where we watched some of the action on the floor…
…and posed for photos…
…and even got a waiver on the “no-standing” rule for one photograph…
We’re not sure, but we think Megan’s repeated winking at the Marshal may have encouraged him to let us break the rules a bit.
Although it was a short visit, it was a nice counterpart to our previous evening’s stroll around the capitol grounds, and we really appreciate Christina and the other Austin Interns/LEAP Ambassadors providing support of our tour. Although Megan was a veteran of the state capitol and Staci had visited previously, it was Jennifer’s first time, and a great way to experience her first visit to the Texas Legislature.
LBJ Presidential Library
Again, Megan was a veteran of the LBJ Presidential Library, and Presidential Libraries in general–she’s been to four–but it was Staci and Jennifer’s first time in a presidential library. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds!
We began by watching an eleven-minute overview of LBJ’s life…
…got a good taste of the Johnson Treatment…
…saw some Johnson Humor…
…and generally enjoyed the exhibits.
The most substantive areas, however, were the exhibits on legislation that Johnson passed, and there was much to see! Obviously, Civil Rights is Johnson’s most impressive legacy…
…and this area was the highlight of the Museum.
Or perhaps the most impressive aspect was being able to see how much he was able to accomplish in only five years, while also seeing the history that transpired during his life–from the advent of flight, WWI and WWII, the Civil Rights movement, and the moon landing. It was a great way to learn not only about LBJ, but also about the 20th century.
It was also a beautiful day in Austin. To cap off the day, our trip, and interactions with some truly wonderful people–from Jeff Guinn and Stephen Harrigan to the Austin Interns–we captured some of Austin’s beauty and one of its most notable landmarks in a farewell photo outside of the Library.