Some West Virginia University students will get to witness one of the most anticipated inaugurations in history.

On Friday (Jan. 16), about 35 studentsincluding four resident assistantsfrom Dadisman and Stalnaker residence halls boarded three WVU vans bound for Washington, D.C., for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama.

Another eight students from Fieldcrest Hall, including two resident assistants, will hit the road tonight at midnight to also be part of the inaugural festivities.

Both groups will return Tuesday night (Jan. 20).

While in the nations capital, Dadisman and Stalnaker residents have toured the inaugural exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution and attended a concert for young Americans on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. They are planning to watch Tuesdays inaugural parade and take part in other activities.

Through Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefellers offices, both groups obtained a limited number of tickets to allow some of the students to attend the formal inaugural ceremony. The students were chosen through a lottery system. Students not attending the formal ceremony will watch the swearing-in of Obama on big screens set up in the National Mall.

I am especially interested in finding ways to involve residents in all the communities of which they are a part, and the national community is certainly one of them,said Richard Montgomery, resident faculty leader of Fieldcrest Hall.I hope and expect that sense of national community will be apparent at the Mall and at the swearing-in ceremony and throughout Washington on Tuesday.

Montgomery and his wife, Marilyn, are accompanying the students.

The hall councils of Stalnaker and Dadisman have been organizing the plans for the inauguration trip since August with the help of resident faculty leaders David and Debbi Pariser. The students applied for grants to help offset costs, priced hotels and arranged transportation, among other things.

This is a very historic inauguration, and it is an important and monumental experience for WVU students to participate in,said Jonathan Storage, a junior political science major and adviser to the Dadisman Hall Council.

The Parisers have led inauguration trips in the past. In 2001, they took 40 students to watch the swearing-in of George W. Bush, and in 2005, they took 46 students.

It is a great educational experience,David Pariser said.They have a good time, and they really learn a lot.