Seeing Seattle

Day one in Seattle: a town of innovation, recreation, wealth, and inequality. Our crew of 14 flew into the Seattle airport around 4:00pm on Monday. From there, we took the SeaTac to Capitol Hill. Along the way, we scrambled to understand the bus system and hilly avenues, but made it to our destination, a rental house on 10th street- whose architect, let’s just say, had an affinity for geometry.

After settling in, we went for pizza and ended up at the grocery store where outside, there was a young man asking for money. A few feet away from him, was another young man sitting on his sleeping bag just watching the traffic pass. I have seen many down and out people in my life, but for some reason, in this moment, these two men struck me. Maybe it was because I had just spent over three grand to take a month class talking about inequality, while here these two dudes were desperately trying to keep their lives together. Or maybe it was because they were both young, white, and male; a demographic of homeless less seen in the twin cities where I am from. But nevertheless, they struck me. Standing out in the cold, asking for money.

Our first visit of the trip was with a company called Meld, a startup that makes thermo-sensing cookware. The company whose office sat on the dock was fully equip with widescreen computers, 3D printers, stoves, and dogs!

After the visit, we talked about how technological advancements are leading to greater income inequality and addressed the importance of education reform.

The trip is going well. We are learning a lot and experiencing even more. Tomorrow the plan is to clear out of the rental house by 8:00am and head for California on the train. Lots of cards, sleeping, and letting our crazy out are on the docket!

Taken by Blaise Schaeffer '16
The group stands with entrepreneur Jon Jenkins of Meld.