Monday, November 15, 2010

Information Session, Thursday @5pm!

Come to the Information Session for the Roosevelt Institute at Georgia Tech on Thursday Nov. 18 from 5-6:30!

At the info session you will learn about the chapter here at Georgia Tech and ways in which students can impact policy! The main goal of our chapter is to work on consulting assignments that explore the intersection of engineering, technology and policy and provide constructive solutions to these policy issues. We also have centers that promote awareness, debate and discussion of issues relating to foreign affairs, fiscal policy and diplomacy issues.

About the Roosevelt Institute:
The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a national student initiative, engages young people in a unique form of progressive activism that empowers them as leaders and promotes their ideas for change. Taking advantage of the unique resources on their college campuses, they engage in policy research and writing and then connect the results of that research to the political process, delivering sound, progressive proposals to policymakers and advocacy groups. You can find out more about us at

We are also giving out free t-shirts and free doughnuts so don't miss it! Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Think International - Is America still a Superpower?

We are so excited to introduce Mr. Will Davis, Director of the UN Information Center in Washington, DC, in a speaker event at Georgia Tech. The event is this Thursday, 25th 2010 at 6pm in the Student Success Center (President's Suite B).

This event is aimed at exploring the UN's perspective on the role of America in the 21st century. Topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, Green Technology, Nuclear Disarmament, the Population Bomb, Expanding the Security Council and the Copenhagen Climate Talks.

Students are highly encouraged to ask questions or present their opinions during the event. Students will also have the opportunity of interacting with Mr. Davis for professional networking and questions on pursuing a career with the U.N.

This is a really great event and is open to the entire campus. I really look forward to see you there.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Join the UN Event Committee!

We will be hosting our first campus-wide event in the third week of February this semester. This will be along the lines of a conference/speaker event and our guest will be Mr. Will Davis, the director of the UN (USA).

Some of the areas that we hope to cover in this event will include:

Middle East
Green Technology
US-China Relationship/Trade War
US Terrorism (Terrorism in its population)

This list is still tentative.

We hope that towards the end of the event, we can select a group of students representing Georgia Tech to present their constructive solutions for any of these areas to Mr. Davis and voice their opinions (which will be moderated) directly.

This is an excellent opportunity for us as a student body to directly interact with an influential figure and make a difference! We will be updating you on the selection procedure for being able to present at this conference soon - all members of the Roosevelt Institute will get preference in the selection process so if you are not yet a member please fill out this form.

We have also put together a committee for organizing this event, if you would like to be a part of this committee please send me an e-mail at as soon as you can for details of our meeting next week.

I am so excited to work with you in organizing this exciting event!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fireside Chat #2: Rethinking Afghanistan

The big question's heating up newspaper headlines again - Afghanistan. The issue is getting more chaotic than ever with articles screaming, forums ranting and newsreaders showing visual clips on the political and military scene in the country that's almost synonymous with war and oppression.

Amidst this smoke, we stopped to take a breath and evaluate the true nature of the issue. Is it really about how many more troops we need in Afghanistan? Can the continued war really end in peace or just prolong the potential of insurgencies in the state? The Benchmark system, Beefing up the military forces, branching out such military action into neighboring states including Pakistan - is this reaching the end or just pushing it further? What is the end - where does the U.S. obligations to Afghanistan end?

The threat of terrorism is certainly a key component in framing US-Afghanistan policy, and now the US-AFPak Policy. Looking back to the start of the issue, it really just started with a conflict of political ideologies. The insecurities faced with the threat of spreading Communism made it a priority to aid the Mujahideens to protect Afghanistan from the Soviet Union. Ever since then, the U.S. has trampled into a really sticky situation that led to the Taliban government and a horrific course of events.

It's been a long way since then but even the recent elections have exposed the flimsy foundation of the local government with current president, Karzai, under fire for a corrupt government and for his "weak" control on curbing crime rates and the illegal opium trade. The reconstruction of a nation involves restructuring a sustainable educational system, medical facilities, infrastructure, cultural revival and more importantly an industrial/economic establishment.

Proposed Policy Solutions:

Members at our fireside chat discussed potential solutions to the lack of a stable economic output which can curb the levels of opium trade. Some solutions identified include establishing a transportation industry which enhances communication lines and multilateral development among other middle eastern countries. The fragmented tribal communities in Afghanistan pose a challenge to construct a unified, national entity as most tribes pledge their loyalties to their individual tribes and don't really identify with the concept of a national identity. A strong transportation system would foster intra-tribal relations and trade with neighboring countries. Finally, the transportation industry, if well established can be lucrative since transportation and logistics management is a big hurdle in the area.

Partially re-aligning resources away from military expenditures to providing for basic needs like medicine and food as well as being able to respect the need for independence in the state and have confidence in its own people might encourage a more positive light on U.S. efforts to stabilize the region, instead of being viewed as "bullies". To do this, it's vital to understand that many western ideologies (political or social) may not be accepted by the communities in Afghanistan so imposing unwelcome ideologies and cultures can't resonate with the locals.

It's essential to connect with the way the local communities see the world to be able to make any constructive changes in the nation. If the war is to be stopped, the local individuals need to be empowered and this cannot be accomplished if their views of what's best is sidetracked.

When we talk about views and cultural independence - we don't mean to overlook the recent oppressive practices prevalent, especially against women but hope that by empowering the locals they will be able to fight oppression to their people without constant dependence on other countries.

For the long term sustenance of a country, its independent struggle and fight to achieve a stable, productive and prosperous government must originate and be executed independently within the country. This struggle can be viewed to be almost like a "lesson" that helps leaders of a nation to be self-equipped to handle its country's issues.

Thinking differently may not always be the solution to a problem but as Einstein quoted: "We cannot solve the intractable problems we face with the same thinking that brought us into those problems"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fireside Chat #1: Case Materials and References!

Our last fireside chat was a great success thanks to all the members who came to the event and the hard work of our amazing exec members!

I thought I'd include the Case Summary here for your reference. Ramya Parthasarathy, Preety Bhardwaj and Kristofer Carta worked hard on this case presentation - with a bit of editing on my side:


In 2007, the U.S. spent $2.26 trillion on health care or $7,439 per person, up from $2.1 trillion, or $7,026 per capita, the previous year. Currently, health care spending in the United States accounts for approximately 16% of its GDP, and is expected to continue its growth, reaching 19.5% of GDP by 2017. Of each dollar spent on health care in the Unites States, 31% goes to hospital care, 21% goes to physician services, 10% pharmaceuticals, 8% to nursing homes, 7% to administrative cost, and 23% to all other categories including diagnostic services, pharmacies, and medical device manufacturers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by the overall level of health, among 191 member nations in the study. A 2008 report by Commonwealth Fund ranked United States last in the quality of health care among the 19 compared countries. The U.S. has a higher rate of infant mortality and lower life expectancy than other developed countries. The United States is presently the only industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage. Furthermore, medical debt is classified as the primary cause of bankruptcy among all Americans.

As such, an estimated total of 100,000 individuals die each year because of lack of medical care. Some examples of government-funded specialty centers are hospice services, dysplasia clinics, and gynecological clinics.

Health care has been the topic of discussion for decades and is currently at the forefront of President Obama’s agenda. The bringing of health care reform brings into question the right to health care, access, fairness, value, cost, and quality. The recent discourse on health care has evoked strong sentiments on both the left and right wing parties.

The introduction of the H.R. 3200 bill calls upon central means of improving the quality of health care and reducing the growth in the overall health care expenditures. The inclusion of the government-run health care plan has been proposed as solution to insure the 48 million uninsured Americans, but has stirred passionate sentiments, mostly from the right wing politicians.

Liberals perceive that government-run health care service will reduce the large number of uninsured Americans and will extend coverage to all, thus lowering costs and enhancing quality. They believe that the sharing of costs between all Americans is morally and economically justifiable. The proposition of universal health care offers for increased affordability, and reduces the barrier to deny access to health care based on ability to pay.

Conservatives, on the other hand, oppose government mandates or programs for the establishment of universal health care as an effort to reduce health care cost. They believe that the government should not socialize medicine. In addition, the intrusion of government in health care is suggested to result in loss of individual freedom and does not fall in line with the free market system.


ELECTRONIC HEALTHCARE: Promote e-mails between physicians and patients for basic informational advice that can avoid unnecessary appointment requests and increase attention for more patients seeking medical advice. This can also aid the elderly and disabled who might find it difficult to find such information using resources like the internet. Foreseeable obstacles are Operating costs and quantifying the resulting benefits to fit the "quantity served" versus the "quality of service" model in treatments.

EMPHASIS ON PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE: We discussed how in countries like the U.K. there exists an incentivized system which promotes preventive measures for avoiding health problems. For example: citizens actually receive money incentives to quit smoking! Replicating this system here in the U.S. would take tangible efforts at promoting healthier lifestyles.

Taking all these statistics and perspectives into consideration,

What are your ideas for reducing cost and enhancing quality in the U.S. health care system?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our New Policy Centers!

Hello Everyone,

What's new at GT Roosevelt Institution?

Well - we've set up 7 exciting policy centers, tailored to your interests. Here they are:

1. Health Care
2. Trade, Economic Development and Fiscal Policy
3. Energy and Environment
4. Defence and Diplomacy, Equal Justice
5. Education and Social Policy
6. Sustainability, Technology and Public Policy
7. International/Foreign Affairs, Race/Ethnicity and Gender

What are policy centers? Well, policy centers are much like hubs connecting members with similar interests and passions and getting members to engage in debate, discussion, events or research in that particular policy area. Are you interested in any of these centers? If so, please e-mail or update/create your membership profile if you haven't done so already by filling out this application form.

Let's start making a difference!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Become a Leader TODAY!

Hello Roosevelters! Do you want to become a leader in our organization? Here are some positions that await you:

1. Public Policy Director: Responsible for overseeing the different policy centers, networking with faculty members and professionals, mentoring members on effective policy writing and convening debates, discussions or policy research projects. The Policy Director must be at least a Junior or Senior if an undergraduate student, or may be a graduate/PHD student with a strong background in public policy.

2. Vice President: Responsible for overseeing administrative affairs and presiding over meetings in the absence of the president.

3. Secretary: Responsible for recording the proceedings of a meeting and distributing the minutes to members.

4. Membership Director: Responsible for retaining members, addressing member concerns, resolving possible conflicts and organizing membership drives.

5. Webmaster: Responsible for maintaining an up to date, efficient website for the organization., uploading necessary information, files, resources, contact details and updates on upcoming events on the website.

6. Public Relations and Events Manager: Responsible for planning, budgeting, advertising and informing members about upcoming events.

So what are you waiting for? E-mail NOW!