Indiana University conference draws public-service-minded students from diverse backgrounds

  • Oct. 23, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With a goal of “moving the world forward,” more than 80 students from a range of racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds converge on Indiana University this weekend for a conference that will introduce them to careers in public service.

The students, undergraduates from college campuses nationwide, will attend seminars and debates and participate in activities that showcase the academic and cultural diversity of IU’s campus. They will participate in seminars and debates led by top IU faculty and alumni and Bloomington community leaders. They will also engage with IU students at the IU African-American, Asian, Latino and First Nations cultural centers.

The Moving the World Forward conference is co-sponsored by IU, the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and the national Public Policy and International Affairs Program and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.

“I look forward to engaging with students who have demonstrated in their applications that they have the potential to change the world,” SPEA Executive Associate Dean David Reingold said.

The conference participants were selected through a competitive process that weighed their academic achievements and public service aspirations.

Highlights of the four-day conference include:

  • A keynote address by Marsialle Arbuckle, executive director of Detroit’s Center for Urban Youth and Family Development.
  • Discussions on public affairs topics including education policy, environmental policy, social policy and economic development policy led by SPEA and IU School of Education faculty.
  • A forum on career options led by IU alumni Vicki Allums, associate general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense; Alex Luboff of the Grant Thornton LLP accounting firm; and Marshawn Wolley of the Visit Indy tourism agency.

In addition to the career discussions, the participants will also learn about graduate school options.

“We hope some of these standout undergraduates leave Bloomington on Sunday intent on returning as graduate students,” SPEA professor Michael Wilkerson said. “For IU and SPEA, this is an important step toward an even more diverse and representative culture.”

To ensure the participants experience IU’s culture, they will attend a performance of “Soul Revue” at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and the opera “La Boheme” at the Musical Arts Center.

“This event will enrich both the visiting students and the IU community,” said Megan Siehl, a conference organizer and director of SPEA’s graduate student services. “The students reflect the wonderful diversity of our world and their enthusiasm for improving our world is contagious.”

The Public Policy and International Affairs Program and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration selected SPEA to host the event in a competitive national process. It is the first of its kind both for SPEA and for the national organizations.

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