Pizza and public policy were on display last night as the Institute of Politics (IOP) held an open house for its fall study groups.
Featured fellows included former Colorado governor Richard "Dick" Lamm and Thaddeus Garrett, Jr., special advisor to former president George H. Bush. Study group topics range from foreign policy to journalism to stock market analysis.
The student study groups are non-credit discussion groups that meet once a week to examine topics related to politics and public policy.
The sessions "let undergraduates have contact with real life politics instead of just reading about [them] in a text book," said Curtis J. Mahoney '00, a member of the IOP Student Advisory Committee (SAC).
Many of the students who attended the event said that they were particularly excited by the caliber of the resident fellows.
Geoffrey C. Rapp '98, chair of the SAC, said that the study groups were especially attractive because they are "low intensity, high reward."
Matthew R. Hillery '00, who said he plans to join a study group this semester for the first time, agreed.
"I came because I was interested in doing something that was a low time commitment and educational," he said.
Victoria J. Harris '00, a past student liaison for the program, said that the study groups are an excellent opportunity to interact with fellows.
"It gave me the ability to interact with a fellow without feeling that it was over my head," she said.
The fellows were equally enthusiastic.
"I am excited to work with students here," said John L. Giesser, who will use his experience as vice president of Dewey Square Group, a national grassroots organization, to teach a session on political organizing.
Ricki L. Seidman, director of Rock the Vote and a former deputy communications director at the White House, said she is excited to share her "real world experience" with students.
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