Change will only come when we decide to take the first step. As social innovators, we must be bold enough to believe in the future we hope to create yet be humble enough to understand that most change happens slowly and, as such, we must remain steadfast. Complex social issues defy simple, straightforward solutions; they demand a deep understanding, our best ideas, a willingness to collaborate, and a long-term commitment. The Bali Immersion experience added an entirely unique and comprehensive layer to my undergraduate education, and I cannot imagine my time at Florida State without it.
Despite the limitations of Brand USA as a policy and public/private partnership the American brand endures. A strong brand elicits strong feelings. Given its visibility and superpower status, I would argue that the United States, not Apple, is the world’s most valuable brand. The future value of the brand rests in the behavior of citizens, policymakers and how these behaviors are perceived by the rest of the world. A quasi-governmental organization pushing social media blasts to potential international visitors can do little to change these perceptions.
In sum, the college’s “quiet summer” is anything but that. Education, Research, Policy Analysis, and Professional Development all continue. Sure, fewer people are around on a daily basis, the student activity is somewhat reduced on campus, and parking gets a little easier, but we continue to be busy, active, productive and impactful. We remain committed year-round to our mission of Engaging Today’s World, Producing Tomorrow’s Leaders.
Engagement in visual-centric blogging introduces students to a popular form of public sociology that develops the sociological imagination. As Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp, founders of Sociological Images, note, sharing compelling images and social scientific analysis in blog form is an effective way to engage a non-scholar audience in developing understandings of social science principles.
This brings me around to describing the two major thrusts of what I consider the college’s commitment to Diversity - People and Ideas. A college with a diverse population that holds a shared worldview is a failure. Similarly, a college with a diversity of ideas, but little demographic diversity is also a failure. Society is complex, messy, and contested; a lack of diversity of people or ideas will leave our students unprepared for the real world.
Market pricing for parking is no longer the pie-in-sky theory of economics textbooks. The technology exists to charge for parking on a real-time basis. Harnessing this technology to manage supply and demand more effectively will ensure that parking exists at peak periods for those willing to pay for accessibility, while creating a sustainable revenue stream for transportation facilities.