Saturday, June 30, 2012

Post-Storm Update: We've Got Power (and AC)

In the aftermath of the severe thunderstorms that swept through the area Friday night and have left many D.C. Metro residents without power, we are happy to say that St. Albans School still has power (and air conditioning -- very important with this heat wave)!   We hope that our neighbors in D.C., Maryland and Virginia get their power restored as quickly as possible.

SPS at the lanes!
On tap for SPS this weekend: giving this heat wave all due respect.  We'll be knocking down the pins this afternoon in a bowling outing, and later in the day there will probably be some small groups going in staggered outing to the outdoor pool on campus at the Beauvoir School.  On Sunday, we'll be doing a board games tournament, followed by a party at 2:45 to watch the finals of the Euro Cup in soccer.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Slideshow of SPS Supreme Court Mock Oral Argument

SPS Supreme Court in Session!

An annual tradition at the St. Albans School of Public Service is for the students to take part in a mock oral argument of a Supreme Court case from the most recent term.  This year, the "SPS Supreme Court" took on the case of United States v. Jones, which involved a Fourth Amendment challenge to evidence in a criminal case gathered from a GPS device secretly attached to the underside of the defendant's car.  Although the U.S. Supreme Court excluded the evidence, our SPS Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the "search and seizure" via the GPS device was not unreasonable and the evidence could come in.  We've got some great future lawyers and judges here, judging by the outstanding performances today!
Lawyer Max H. making his argument

Co-counsel Olivia making her Fourth Amendment argument

The justices really peppered lawyer Jordan with questions!

Our SPS Supreme Court panel in the Trophy Room proceeding

Co-counsels Araba and Nick G. making their pitch to the Court

The SPS Supreme Court for the Kellogg Room proceeding -- you can see they meant business!
Attorney Sergio representing Mr. Jones and challenging the evidence!

SPS 2012: Reception with Friends of the Program

Last night the St. Albans School of Public Service class of 2012 attended a reception with Board members and friends of the program. After some good conversation and good hors d'oeuvres, it was back to the dorm to change into casual clothing and have some pizza to end the night.
The Bowtie Brigade!  Kameron L., center, SPS 2012, is flanked by bowtie aficionados Messrs. Hammer (left) and Shepard (right)
From left: Former Congressman and 1980 Presidential Candidate the Honorable John B. Anderson, a friend and advisor to the School of Public Service since its inception, talks with Michaela, J.P., and Thomas
From left, SPSers Willy D., Josh, Willy A, Jahan, Ryan D., Danielle, Ryan K. and Caleb
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

SPS 202: Congressional Simulation -- the General Election Results Are In!

With the general election results tabulated, word is that three out of the six SPS Congressional candidates were re-elected to Congress. Can you tell which ones from the photos of the six teams below?

SPS 2012 Congressional Election Simulation Update: All Teams Win Their Primaries

Real-time election update: all six SPS teams have won their primaries and advanced to the general election!
A team celebrates their win in the primary! (From left: Araba, JP, Sergio, Frank, Lhani)

SPS 2012 Video: A Team Gets Some Discouraging News About Its Approval Rating

SPS 2012: The Election Fast Approaches!

As the morning advances, the election nears! As the photos below show, the teams are engaged in some major-league political strategizing . . . and they've broken out the campaign buttons.
Willy A. sporting two campaign buttons!

Kameron and Jordan

Ford, Jahan, and Willy D. ready for the election!

From left: Caleb, Sergio, and Frank are part of the political team planning the next moves

Danielle and Nick G. debating the next course of action

Sergio, Frank, and Araba are proud of their new campaign wear

Danielle, Nick P., Kimberly and Ryan are hard at work planning the campaign

Daniel and Kinza looking at polling results before the next round

SPS Runs Six Candidates for Congress! (Sort of . . .)

From left: Caleb and Ford are "sworn in" as members of Congress (note carefully which hands they have raised!)
This morning sees the St. Albans School of Public Service Class of 2011 spending some (simulated) time in Congress, culminating in primary and general elections. As part of the Congressional Insight simulation, groups of six SPS students are collectively playing the parts of fictitious Republican and Democratic Congresspeople from real districts. In a mere three hours time (SPS hours are like dog years . . . a lot can happen!) each of our SPS Congresspeople has to face such tasks as applying for Committee Assignments, deciding whom to support in intra-party leadership battles, hiring a staff, voting on bills, sponsoring bills, raising money (and raising money, and raising money), and campaigning for re-election through direct mail, TV, radio or door-to-door canvassing. The teams have to work together under time pressure to make decisions that will get them re-elected, and along the way all are getting some additional insight into the trade-offs that actual Members of Congress face in trying to balance the demands of party, constituents, principle, and the desire for re-election. With every decision the SPS Congresspeople make, the computer program informs them whether their approval ratings have gone up or down, with the ultimate test being whether they will win the primary and then the general election. Check back for updates as the hour of decision nears!

Kameron and Michaela being "sworn in" to Congress
From left: Michaela, Kameron, and Jordan eagerly await the first round of approval ratings
Danielle is very pleased with the first round of approval ratings!
Strategizing for the next round of key decisions

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SPS 2012 Visits With Justice Kagan at the U.S. Supreme Court

SPS 2012 with United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan
 With all the focus on the U.S. Supreme Court lately (the so called "ObamaCare" decision is scheduled to come out tomorrow), what an incredible opportunity it was for SPS 2012 to visit the United States Supreme Court today!  We were even more privileged to be able to meet for a private question-and-answer session with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, as well. After meeting with Justice Kagan, our group toured the historic Supreme Court building (including the Courtroom itself and beautiful Supreme Court Library).  Later this week SPS 2012 will get to try their hand at deciding a case from this year's Supreme Court term in our Supreme Court Mock Argument.

From left: Kinza, Araba, Lhani, Olivia, and Kimberly

At the Supreme Court (from left: Ryan, Caleb, Kurt, Ryan, Jordan, and Thomas)

In the East Conference Room at the Supreme Court in front of the portrait of Chief Justice Marshall

In the West Conference Room in the Supreme Court (from left: Luke, Bo, JP, Ford, and Jahan)

Slideshow of Photos of Supreme Court Outing

Slideshow of Additional Photos from SPS Twilight Monuments Tour (click on photo to go to online album)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SPS 2012: Nothing Like a Balmy Night on the National Mall, Strolling Among the Monuments . . .

On a beautiful, balmy summer night in DC, what better way to spend the evening than in a twilight Monuments Tour on the National Mall? (Oh, and by the way, someone might want to tell the folks in Palo Alto that Josh A. stole the weather and brought it with him to SPS.)

Mr. Stephany not only led the tour, he snapped some great pics too!

From left: Frank, Kameron, JP, and Thomas at the WWII Memorial

Danielle, Stefany, Michaela and Kaylah enjoying the National Mall

SPS 2012: Supreme Court Session with Kevin Baine

In preparation for our trip to the United States Supreme Court tomorrow, this afternoon the St. Albans School of Public Service class of 2012 took part in a lively, Socratic-style Q&A with First Amendment lawyer Kevin Baine.  The SPSers examined the role of the Supreme Court in shaping policy and talked about the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") case that is due to come out this week.  The group got a little taste of law-school style discussion, with a few students being put on the spot (but rising to the occasion).  A highlight was Mr. Baine handing Max H. a Constitution and asking him to identify the constitutional basis for an argument Max had made.  (Don't worry, Max went straight to the Fourteenth Amendment -- always a good choice!)  Mr. Baine has both clerked at the Supreme Court (for Justice Thurgood Marshall) and argued before the Court, and we were fortunate to have his insights as we focus on the Court this week at the School of Public Service.
Photo 1: Max stakes out a constitutional argument

Photo 2: Mr. Baine hands over a pocket-sized U.S. Constitution to Max!

Photo 3:  Max is cool, calm, and collected as he studies the Constitution just before citing the Fourteenth Amendment.

Slideshow of Classroom Session on Role of the Supreme Court in Shaping Policy

SPS 2012: Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner and Public Health Pioneer Dr. Anthony Fauci

One of our goals this summer is to help our School of Public Service students see that there are many paths to public service. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a pioneer in the global effort to research, treat and prevent HIV/AIDS, demonstrated today in his visit to SPS that a career in public health can epitomize the term "public service."

Dr. Fauci (see photo at left) is the Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAIDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has had a storied career, culminating most recently in his being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civil honor. The Presidential Medal of Freedom "recognizes outstanding individuals who have been leaders in their chosen fields, have led lives of vision and character, and have made especially meritorious contributions to our nation and the world." The June 19, 2008 citation reads: "As a physician, medical researcher, and public servant, Dr. Anthony Fauci has dedicated his life to expanding the horizons of human knowledge and making progress toward groundbreaking cures for diseases. His efforts to advance our understanding and treatment of HIV/AIDS have brought hope and healing to tens of millions in both developed and developing nations. The United States honors Anthony Fauci for his commitment to enabling men, women, and children to live longer, healthier lives."

For our part, SPS was honored to have Dr. Fauci visit us once again. Dr. Fauci spoke to us of his path to service in the field of health, beginning with his Brooklyn roots and education at a Jesuit High School in New York City, Regis High School. He joined the National Health Service during the Vietnam War, at a time when all graduating doctors were being drafted into the military or National Health Service, and has remained in the field of public health ever since.

Dr. Fauci spoke of how, in 1981, his colleagues counseled against his decision to retool his laboratory research to investigate a curious form of pneumonia afflicting a few dozen gay men--he was told "not to throw away a good career." Dr. Fauci persisted, and of course those few dozen cases were the leading edge of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic that has infected tens of millions. Through pictures and his words, Dr. Fauci traced how, with the interest of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and President George H.W. Bush, he was able to help mobilize information and resources at the governmental level to work to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. Dr. Fauci traced his efforts through the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations, giving what amounted to a primer in how people of good will and conviction can set aside political differences in the interests of public health and science.

Most recently, Dr. Fauci's work on HIV/AIDS at NIH has focused on creation and coordination of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which in the past five years has reached millions of people in Africa and other developing regions throughout the world. Dr. Fauci also noted that the work of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is not confined to HIV/AIDS, but includes efforts to battle tuberculosis (a leading worldwide killer) and potential bioterrorism threats.

After his presentation, Dr. Fauci took questions from our SPS group on topics ranging from political issues surrounding appropriations for HIV/AIDS relief in Africa, to the demographics of HIV/AIDS infection in the U.S. today. The group went away with an appreciation for an often-overlooked arena of public service, and admiration for what Dr. Fauci has accomplished in the field.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Slideshow of Photos from Amazing Race, SPS Edition

SPS 2012: The Amazing Race, SPS Edition!

This afternoon SPS 2012 fanned out across the Cathedral Close (fancy way of saying "Cathedral grounds") for the First Ever Amazing Race, SPS Edition.  Perhaps "race" is a bit misleading -- the rules specified no running ("only brisk walking allowed"), but the competition between the six teams was fierce.  Ultimately, after a very close race, Team Six won at the wire. See below for a few photos of the various teams in action.
Starting out!

This team was ready for some serious racing!

Picking up the next clue

Eventual winning team, picking up a clue in the Olmstead Woods

Deciphering the next clue

Team Six, the Winning Team, posing with their prizes (Chipotle gift certificates)