July 15, 2024

Howard Baker Center launches fourth annual policy creation challenge

Participants will address community issues and offer policy solutions with comprehensive briefs.


Written by Haley Stafford

Students are gearing up to compete in the Howard Baker Center Public Policy challenge to leave their mark on the community by addressing policy issues.

The Associate Director of the Howard Baker Jr. Center, Nissa Dahlin-Brown, conducted a 30 minute meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18 to discuss the challenge in detail. She offered encouraging words to students, pointing towards the program’s ability to develop their skills in tackling real-world issues.

“Students will begin to understand how a policy so simple can turn into something so special once you dig deep into its layers,” Dahlin-Brown said.

Students were encouraged to begin thinking about an issue in which they are most interested in and passionate about. Once an issue area is identified, they are to develop a comprehensive policy brief, short video, and PowerPoint. According to Dahlin-Brown, choosing issues that involve intense research and engagement tend to make the most impact.

Since 2013, the program has garnered students interested in various policy areas. Previous winners of the competition have addressed mental health with a “Pay Now/Pay Later” policy to provide mental health screenings of incarcerated juveniles as well as environmental policy aiming to remove all plastic bags from campus within five years.

“A lot of great policies have been developed by our previous winners, many of which have gone further than this challenge and presented to a higher power,” Dahlin-Brown said.

Contestants are encouraged to use Hodges, the main campus library, as a resource for policy information due to its extensive collection. “Most libraries do not have this option, making this a great opportunity for you to develop something really amazing,” said Kenya Flash, library research guide.

2017 finalists will present their policies to judges at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. Judges will look for a solid plan, a clear and important issue and the engagement level of stockholders.

To participate, students must register as a team or an individual by 12 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20. Winners of the challenge will take home $1,000 to $3,000. Additional details can be found on the Howard Baker Jr. Center website.

Feature Image by Howard Baker Center, obtained by Howard Baker Center Press Release Archive

Edited by McKenzie Manning