USI Master of Interdisciplinary Studies Candidate, Cherella Nicholson, traveled to Washington DC to take part in the annual student simulation competition. The NASPAA-Batten simulation is a joint effort of UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. Batten’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming develops the simulation. Students participate at university sites around the world on the same day (by region) to solve problems. This year’s topic came from Sustainable Development Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities with a specific focus on transportation policy.
“I truly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the rigorous simulation. I participated on a team with four additional global scholars to create a better transit system in a city with 5 districts. Policy implementation decisions are not isolated decisions. The transit decisions we made impacted the financial health of the city, transit decisions impact housing density and employment opportunities.”
Students must be nominated to apply for the NASPAA-Batten competition and then apply for consideration. This year there were 5 sites in the US: George Mason University, Ohio State University, Pepperdine University, University at Albany and the University of Texas at Austin. Participants travel to one of the sites and have a meet and greet on Friday evening and then spend 12 hours the next day with the simulation, presentations, and judging.
The regional winners will be evaluated by a team of judges, and the winning team will be invited to the Global Leadership Summit in Washington DC hosted by the United Nations Association of the United States of America.
Nicholson found the NASPAA-Batten experience beneficial. “As an intense activity, the experience taught me public policy decisions are difficult, can be quick decisions with unintended consequences, and negotiation as a skill and strategy are key. Lastly, community engagement and input are necessary before putting policy into action.”
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