UCF Fosters Future Generations with Political Symposium
The Lou Frey Institute and Global Perspectives at the University of Central Florida hosted ‘The First 100 Days: Policy Initiatives and Approaches for the New Administration’ on March 30, 2017.
The symposium hosted AP and honors high school students from across the Orlando area. In the morning, important issues regarding President Trump’s first 100 days in office were discussed. The day continued with a Senate simulation where students became U.S. Senators with the help of the staff from Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The event, held in the UCF Student Union, opened with a warm welcome and introduction from College of Sciences Dean Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
Multiple reputable presenters spoke to the room full of high school students who may one day make important changes through the political process.
“Red, White and Bruised: Post 2016 Election, America and Reconciliation” was the first topic of discussion. Special guest Congressman Charlie Gonzalez spoke about the closeness of the election, the deep division among Americans, and the need
for compromise. He used humor to get his points across and was voted the best speaker of the day by the students.
“A New Chapter in Washington: Is There Potential for Progress?” continued the symposium’s topics with examining congressional issues. A panel of experts explored the meaning behind the election, a report card on the first three months of the President and Congress, and the possibility of solutions to America’s key challenges.
Included in the panel was Vice President of Communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center Robert Traynham, and Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Executive Director of BPC Action Michele Stockwell. The Associate Director of Lou Frey, Senior Fellow and political science Professor Terri Susan Fine, Ph.D. moderated the discussion. Both Traynham and Stockwell drew on their experience working for various Congressmen and Senators, Democrats and Republicans, as well as policy committees on Capitol Hill.
The last morning panel weighed in on national security, international relations and a new strategy since January 2017. The Director of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Stephen Masyada, Ph.D., moderated discussions of relations with allies and adversaries, treaty obligations and the changing threats.
Brigadier General USMC (Ret.) Stephen Cheney, chief executive officer of American Security Project (ASP) and member of the Department of State’s Foreign
Policy Board, and Matthew Wallin, fellow for public diplomacy for ASP gave valuable insight on the issues as they sat on the panel.
Cheney and Wallin felt strongly that Climate Change is a national security issue. Cheney stated that he doesn’t support President Trump’s executive order that initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricted greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. He asked the students how many were born in 2000 and 2001 and almost all hands went up.
“The military takes climate change seriously,” Cheney explained. “By 2050, when you’re 50 years old, Orlando could be beach front property.”
After sitting through the thought-provoking talks, students took a quick pizza break to refuel before switching gears to become U.S. Senators and casting their “vote” on an actual crucial immigration bill that could change the lives of many individuals, which is currently being debated by the real Senate. The student debate was very lively, but civil, with the bill passing by an overwhelming margin.
“My students had a wonderful time at this year’s symposium! They really loved the keynote speech and the Senate voting simulation,” raved Angela M. Sewell, AP Human Geography & World History teacher from William R. Boone High School. “From a teacher’s perspective, this was one of the best that I have attended. Students enjoy them so much when they are engaged and participating. We are so grateful for this field trip and hope you continue to invite us.”
Through events such as The First 100 Days symposium, the Lou Frey Institute along with Global Perspectives continues to support the development of individuals with the potential to create a better world for future generations.
To view photos from the event, click here.