Students travel to San Francisco to learn about social justice movements


A view of San Francisco from the Marin Headlands taken in March 2019. The Marin Headlands are a popular tourist destination at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Melissa Auchard

Home of the cable cars, home of the Giants and home of the Summer of Love, San Francisco hosted Pepperdine students March 18-20. The students visited Triangle Park in the Castro District, the California Academy of Sciences, Chinatown and other popular tourist destinations in the hilly city to learn about social justice.

The Office of Intercultural Affairs organizes the San Francisco trip for students each year. This trip was made up of sophomores and some juniors – allowed to attend as they couldn’t during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who have chosen not to go abroad have the opportunity to have an educational experience outside of Malibu during the trip, said Steve Rouse, professor of psychology and coordinator of the LGBTQ+ movement’s excursion as part of the travel.

Sophomore Aaron Kramer attended the trip to San Francisco with the Asian American Movement as an RA and said he had such a good experience that he encourages all prospective sophomores to go.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to get to know different perspectives and see a kind of different culture that you’ve never seen,” Kramer said.

The purpose of the trip to San Francisco was students to learn about social justice movements, Rouse said. The students formed four different tour groups based on their interests: the LGBTQ+ rights movement, the Black power movement, the Red Power movement, the Asian American movement, and the Green movement.

Sophomore Julie Tingleff attended the trip as part of the green movement and said she loved it.

“It was so much fun,” Tingleff said. “It was definitely a learning experience, but I also feel like I met a ton of really cool new people.”

Tingleff said she chose to attend the trip as part of the green movement because she was considering changing her major from religion to sustainability.

“I was hoping for some clarification on that decision and whether or not I should do it,” Tingleff said.

The green movement attended the California Academy of Sciences where greenery covers the roof of two and a half acres and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.

Julie Tingleff (second from right) and her friends at the Golden Gate Bridge.  All of the students on the San Francisco trip gathered on Sunday to cross the bridge.  Photo courtesy of Julie Tingleff
Julie Tingleff (second from right) and her friends at the Golden Gate Bridge. All of the students on the San Francisco trip gathered on Sunday to cross the bridge. Photo courtesy of Julie Tingleff

“Obviously the museum was super awesome,” Tingleff said. “I feel like I learned a lot there.”

All movements also had eight hours of free time to explore San Francisco on Saturday, March 19. Tingleff said she went to the Out of the Closet thrift store and took a cable car ride around Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghiradelli Square.

“Definitely the highlight of the trip for me, because the thing I will remember forever is that my friends and I found these motorized scooters and drove them back to the hotel from Fisherman’s Wharf on Saturday night,” said Tingleff. “It was just magical.”

Kramer also visited Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. The Asian American movement, however, visited a different part of San Francisco than the Green movement.

The Asian American movement visited Chinatown with a local guide who was born and raised in the area. The group learned about the history of Chinese immigration and how Chinese immigrants were legally kept in their small community known as Chinatown, Kramer said.

Chinatown on a sunny day in San Francisco.  Chinatown is the largest and oldest Chinese community in North America.  Photo by Melissa Auchard
Chinatown on a sunny day in San Francisco. Chinatown is the largest and oldest Chinese community in North America. Photo by Melissa Auchard

Kramer said the tour guide was the most impactful part of his trip.

“Having a tour guide with so much experience was really invaluable,” Kramer said.

Kramer said he connected more to Asian American culture in San Francisco than in the past.

“You read these things in the history books and it might seem like a long way to you,” Kramer said. “You can see yourself a little more in their place. It makes you think, what can you do? »

The ultimate goal of the trip was for students to return to Malibu with a greater sense of community and knowledge about social justice, Rouse said. Kramer said he left San Francisco with exactly that.

“I learned so much and got to experience different cultures and with other Pepperdine students. It was a really great opportunity,” Kramer said.

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Email to Mélissa Auchard: [email protected]

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