S3E3: Why We Trek

Every year dozens of students organise ‘treks’ to their home towns and countries. Entirely voluntary and student led, they plan activities to to initiate their fellow students in the culture, politics and history of the place. Samer Hjouj leads the Palestine trek for the Harvard Kennedy School and Phoenix McLaughlin just led a trek to Maine.

What motivates them to put in this hard work over and above their course load? How do they design the itinerary and what do they prioritise? What dilemmas do they face and how do they navigate it? What do they want the students to take away from this experience?

Prachi Naik from the KSR Podcast team, also a participant in the Palestine trek, talks to them about all this and more.

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Phoenix McLaughlin is a second-year Master in Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School interested in the development of rural areas. He worked in civil society grantmaking at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. before volunteering in India with the Central Tibetan Administration and Students for a Free Tibet for the year prior to joining HKS. He graduated from Colorado College and originally hails from Maine.


Prachi Naik is a former educator and Fulbright Scholar passionate about social justice, identity, and equity. She is completing a Master in Public Policy /Master in Business Administration dual degree at Harvard Kennedy School (’20) and University of Chicago Booth School of Business (’22) and plans to further her work in public education as an aspiring social entrepreneur.