About the Future of Florida Summit

First Future of Florida Summit

After participating in Harvard’s Institute of Politics National Campaign Conference, six of our students decided they would like to create a similar event at UF but focusing on Florida. The idea was to have students who had been nominated by their institutions come together for a week end of meaningful discussion and deliberation on some of the issues most pressing to their generation. The goals of the Summit for the participants were determined to be:

Meet and network with engaged students from around the state

Participate in meaningful conversation and debate about a critical public policy issue(s) in higher education in a small group setting

Develop a professional and persuasive policy proposal

Bring the small group policy proposals to the larger group for debate on their validity

Develop a strategy to continue the discussion in order to develop and implement a long-term action plan

The first annual Future of Florida Summit was held May 16-18, 2014. Participants from other institutions (FSU, USF, UCF, FAU, Florida Gulf Coast, New College, Santa Fe College, Rollins College, Florida Southern College and Miami University) stayed in Hume Honors Residence Hall. The event itself took place in the Ocora in Pugh Hall. For a complete program and bios of the speakers, table facilitators and student organizing committee, please see www.bobgrahamcenter .ufl.edu/ futureoffloridasummit UF’s Student Government generously provided $ 5000.00 towards the cost of the event.

Judging by the amount of quality discussion reported by Table Facilitators the first annual Future of Florida Summit accomplished what the students set out to do. A short evaluation session at the end of the event indicated that participants had found it very useful to focus on a set of issues for a specific amount of time. The group agreed that the Summit should in future focus on issues in Higher Education.

On Sunday am each of the groups (# 1 the Cost of Education for Undergraduates Attending Florida’s Universities; # 2 Technology (Online Education); Group# 3: Campus Safety: Sexual Assault; Group# 4: Campus Safety: Guns on Campus; Group# S: Student Preparedness) made a short presentation of the issues they identified and their recommendations, following the model for presenting a policy proposal created by the Bob Graham Center faculty {see the conference website). (An important bi-product of the Summit was having learned how to do an effective and persuasive policy proposal).

As a result of the Summit we have already seen one concrete result. Two UF participants have put together a proposal and action plan to start an on-line student-run magazine, Florida Political Review, focusing on Florida politics and current events. The goal for the magazine in partnership with the Graham Center is to promote civic engagement, public debate and a forum for the exchange of ideas relating to the state of Florida. They plan to have students in other Florida institutions collaborate with this project that will be launched by the end of fall semester.

Groups have been encouraged to continue the discussion begun at the conference through various kinds of on-line and social media (Google Docs, Drop Box, blogs etc.) The Group working on Sexual Assault for example, has set up a private Facebook page to continue the discussion.

The reports generated by the individual groups have been put on-line at a private site so all the participants have access to them with the understanding that they are at a very beginning stage. Participants will be encouraged to refine their proposals and then to begin on their local campuses to discuss with faculty, students and administrators a plan of action, as appropriate. Gov. Graham’s America the Owner’s Manual: Making Government Work For You will serve as an important resource on how to be an effective citizen advocate.


Online Voter Registration in Florida


Lobbying and Advocacy


Constitutional Revision Commission


Future of Florida’s Environment


Technology and Public Policy