The O’Pake Institute manages Alvernia’s relationship with The Washington Center in the nation’s capital. The Washington Center offers residential academic programs and internship experiences for Alvernia students during the Fall and Spring semesters. It also operates special summer programs and programs focused on the national political party conventions and the Presidential Inauguration during Presidential election years. Alvernia students have participated in all of these programs.
Students who participate in the Washington Center program take a course in a subject related to their academic interest. They are also placed in an internship, which forms the core of their experience in the program. The center secures internships in a wide variety of settings: governmental agencies, health care facilities, financial institutions, the media, criminal justice agencies and non-profit organizations. Most of the internship opportunities are unpaid.
The center provides housing for students who need it. They also offer educational programming including speakers and seminars. They schedule social events for the residents and set up service projects in which the students can participate.
The Alvernia campus liaison with the Washington Center will normally schedule campus visits in the Fall and Spring Semesters. The center also periodically offers an online information session for interested students. Students apply online for admission to the programs.
Typically, Alvernia students will receive fifteen hours of credit for participating in the Fall and Spring Washington Center program. Students are advised to check with their academic adviser before enrolling in the program to ensure that they make an appropriate course selection and that they will receive full credit for their participation. Students are also advised to check with the financial aid office if they are receiving aid through the university.
The Washington Center also offers a residential program in London, England. Alvernia students are also eligible to participate in that program as well.