Jan 27, 2017

Engaging on Public Policy: Reflections on Inauguration Week Panels

During the week of the presidential inauguration, faculty and policy experts across Tuck and Dartmouth came together to discuss potential policy changes under a Republican White House and Congress. Topics included energy and the environment, health care, immigration, terrorism, education, trade, and more. Nearly 500 people from the Dartmouth and Upper Valley communities attended the panels.

We asked a few students, faculty, and staff about their reactions to the event and whether the discussions had an impact on them personally. Here’s what they had to say.

“Since November 9, I’ve felt a renewed commitment to ensuring that my life and work align with my ideals and values as well as listening to others to understand and build bridges. The issues that we face as a society, many of which have animated the political dialogue over the past year, need to be examined from so many angles and perspectives. They are big, so we must come together. They are complex and deeply interconnected and interwoven in a globalized world. The inauguration panels offered an opportunity to acknowledge and explore this complexity, see issues from new perspectives, and gain inspiration for how we, as citizens, can contribute to the well-being of our society.”

Merritt Patridge, executive director, Tuck Center for Business, Government & Society

“I was so glad that Tuck led the charge in organizing these discussions about where key risks and opportunities lie in a Trump administration.  The talks revealed just how much uncertainty lies ahead. What was special about these conversations, led by some of the most renowned academic minds on each of the subject areas, is that they brought together not only the Tuck and Dartmouth communities but also our Upper Valley neighbors.  Conversations like these help us to connect with each other and the broader world around us.  While discussions are important, I hope that these thoughtful deliberations will help to move our community to action as we seek to have positive impact in the world.”

Julia Rosenbaum T’18

“Last week’s panel discussions were especially meaningful for me. I recently joined the Tuck community from Washington, D.C., where I played an integral role within the U.S. Department of Energy and the Administration in shaping energy system policy, planning, and programming. While I feel especially proud to have served my government and the American people in this capacity, this week was a time of deep reflection for me. With so much uncertainty around the future of energy and environment policy, regulation, investment, and innovation, I appreciated the breadth of perspective that the Energy and Environment panel outlined for us. We covered topics ranging from the future of coal, security of the grid, accelerating technology commercialization, anticipated changes in climate policy and international agreements, and the implications of relaxing of environmental regulation, among others. While a number of risks were identified—and there were many—the discussion gave equal voice to opportunities.

But the final words of both optimism and encouragement went to the industry panelist, CEO of Bithenergy, Bob Wallace T’84, who challenged the young scientists, engineers, innovators, and business-minded in the room, to continue to push forward even in the face of uncertainty to be the change they want to see in the world. It was this sense of vigor and vitality that drew me to the government in the first place so many years ago. I walked away from the discussion with a renewed sense of optimism.”

April Salas, executive director, Tuck Revers Center for Energy

“I thought the panels were important to spotlight what we as a university are so good at—analyzing and debating the issues in an open, rational, scholarly way.  We had excellent turnout, not just from Tuck, but also from the rest of the College and the Upper Valley community.  The panelists did a great job of laying out the issues and stimulating questions and debate.  I saw many people continuing the discussion afterward—that made me feel especially good. We also had a good audience watching the live-stream video.

I hope that Tuck and Dartmouth students take full advantage of all the extracurricular events like this that the College organizes—your student years are fleeting, and when you are working it will be even harder to find the time to engage in debate and discussion around public policy.

I am looking forward to seeing more events sometime around the 100-day mark!”

Bob Hansen, the Norman W. Martin 1925 Professor of Business Administration

“Inaugurations provide a unique time for reflection and prediction. This election has been anything but predictable so being able to engage beyond the rhetoric to understand the political, economic, and social implications of this new administration is critical. Tuck’s leadership in bringing the community together to hear from thought leaders across the campus to foster dialogue and debate is the essence of education. We are here not only to become wise business leaders, but also engaged citizens.”

Courtney Bragg T’18

If you couldn’t make it to the discussions, take a moment to watch the recorded panel sessions.