After more than 50 years of sending interns to Washington, D.C., the University of Utah is officially opening a permanent physical home in the nation’s capital.
On Thursday, Dec. 7, the university will celebrate the grand opening of the Orrin G. Hatch Center. The center—made possible thanks to the support of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation and the Kem and Carolyn Gardner family—will not only provide a space for U students to live while interning in D.C., but it will also serve as Utah’s “embassy” in Washington.
“There is a lot of power in being present and being in the places where decisions are happening, where policy is being made,” said Jason Perry, vice president for government relations at the U and the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics. “Utah routinely has an outsized influence in terms of policy in Washington, D.C., and this is the next step in continuing that influence.”
The Hatch Center occupies two interconnected brownstone buildings and a separate, stand-alone carriage house located at 1527 and 1529 18th Street NW. Just steps from Dupont Circle and Embassy Row, and nine blocks from the White House, the center is perfectly situated for student interns who work at agencies and offices throughout the city. The multi-million-dollar project took just over two years to complete. The five floors of student living and common spaces include:
Furnished bedrooms; grouped in suites with single, double and triple-occupancy rooms
- Furnished kitchens and student lounges on every floor
- A resident assistant (RA) suite
- Two rooftop balconies with tables and chairs
- Washer and dryers
- Bike racks
- A conference room and office for visiting guests
Purchased from the Mathematical Association of America in 2021, the residential facilities are named in honor of U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah’s longest-serving senator. The carriage house is named in honor of Carolyn Barnes Gardner and will be used to host events.
“Orrin Hatch sponsored thousands of interns during his senate service,” said Matt Sandgren, executive director of the Hatch Foundation. “He was committed to the rising generation, and he loved his interns. He took great care in who they would become and the life lessons they would take from their time in D.C. This center will carry on his legacy by supporting new generations of interns in coming to live, work and learn in D.C.”
Since 1965, Hinckley’s national program has provided more than 100 students annually with full-time, paid internships in a variety of government institutions, public advocacy groups and consulting firms in Washington, D.C. As the program has grown, the list of host offices has diversified, and Hinckley is now able to pair students from nearly all majors with an internship related to their field.
Housing has consistently been a major challenge for the internship program. Each semester, an already competitive pool of interns has been narrowed as dictated by available housing. The Orrin G. Hatch Center will allow the Hinckley Institute’s national internship program to house up to 50 interns per semester and provide exceptional space for university events and educational programs. The first cohort of Hinckley Institute interns to live at the center will start this spring semester.
Read more about the acquisition of the Hatch Center property here.