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News Release

For immediate use 

Feb. 22, 2006 -- No. 93

Students to host symposium
for Hurricane Katrina relief

CHAPEL HILL — In an effort to respond positively to the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina, students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chapter of a national public policy student think tank are hosting a national policy symposium March 3 and 4.

Co-founded by three students in August 2005, the UNC chapter of the Roosevelt Institution has seven policy centers, as well as the Special Center on Emergency Preparedness and Relief (SCEPR). The centers focus on topics as diverse as education policy and urban development.

The SCEPR will bring together students nationwide to develop substantive, creative policy proposals aimed at assisting those affected by the Hurricane Katrina and putting forward public policy ideas that may help in future disaster response. Students will gather on the UNC campus to present their work and collaborate with experts in the field.

The symposium, "Moving Forward After Hurricane Katrina: College Students’ Ideas to Renew New Orleans and Improve U.S. Disaster Policy," is the first national policy symposium sponsored by the year-old Roosevelt Institution.

Alicia Raia, a junior journalism and mass communication major and president of the UNC chapter, said "Moving Forward" is a way for students to bring their skills together and show that "college students are involved and invested in the challenges faced by New Orleans, not just for Mardi Gras."

On March 3, a reception will be held for symposium participants and invited guests to celebrate the launch of the UNC chapter.

During the daylong session on March 4, participants will present papers on disaster-related topics including local health agency preparedness, displaced Louisiana voters, improvements to insurance industry readiness and deregulatory commissions.

The proposals developed at the symposium will later be announced in a Web-based publication and disseminated to leading disaster preparedness policy-makers and nonprofits.

Dr. Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service and an adviser for the symposium, said the UNC chapter of the Roosevelt Institution fits the university’s tradition of student-led initiatives.

"This symposium exemplifies that students can not only get involved through directly providing aid, as many will during their spring break. They can also help think through the difficult issues related to policy, coming up with thoughtful and innovative solutions to problems such as disaster preparedness and relief."

The symposium is sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service, the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence in Graham Memorial and the Roosevelt Institution.

The non-partisan Roosevelt Institution is devoted to bringing the policy research of college students to the attention of academia, the media and government.

More information is available at

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Note: Media representatives interested in attending the reception on March 3 and-or policy presentations on March 4 should contact Raia at (908) 489-0791 or

News Services contact: Deb Saine, (919) 962-8415 or