Over the next several weeks, Georgetown Day students will be participating in the fourth annual Policy and Advocacy Institute. The Policy Institute is a unique, student-led experience, wherein three pervasive social issues are investigated, policy solutions explored, and specific action plans developed and ultimately implemented. Previous Policy Institute action plans have included a student-organized Summit on Sexual Assault and Consent, which was attended by over 200 people, and a still-running blog and YouTube channel seeking to empower refugees through the power of shared stories.
This year, Georgetown Day students are working in three tracks: Addressing Sexual Assault and Consent, Waging Life in the DMV, and Life Resettled, led by Amy Killy, Topher Dunne, and Meg Blitzer, respectively.Throughout the Institute, students will be documenting their experiences through photography and blog postings. Below are a few excerpts from blog entries written by current Policy Institute fellows:
Addressing Sexual Assault and Consent
The group went to a Congressional briefing on Title IX (the statute that often helps survivors obtain justice after an assault on college campuses) and met with Gaby Grebski, a health educator who discussed the role of alcohol in many sexual assaults. Meeting with Grebski, the fellows acted as a jury in a sexual assault case that happened on a college campus years ago, and voted on whether the defendant was to be determined guilty or not guilty.
“This discussion helped us realize how a victim is still affected even after an assault has taken place, and what we can do to improve the ‘consequences’ a victim faces after speaking up.”
“We talked about how we could actually improve policies and advocate for these changes. Some ideas for improving the school system were advocating for cultural awareness, implementing anti-bias training, and improving sex education.”
“The base of this situation was a lack of sex education and how dangerous alcohol can be.”
The group went to the Migration Policy Institute in Dupont Circle, and met with Susan Fratzke, a policy analyst and the program coordinator with MPI’s International Program.
“Ms. Fratzke described her work as finding solutions through critical thinking and evidence-based data analysis for some of the biggest challenges in the area of refugee resettlement, particularly in and around Europe.”
“Although the State Department’s budget has increased recently, causing an influx of refugees, a concerning factor is the lack of funding for the ORR [US Department of State’s Office of Refugee Resettlement] in light of the increased number of displaced people seeking asylum in the US, especially on the southern border, as well as the static funding despite increased number of immigrants.”