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Advance Team 2017-18

The 2017-18 Advance Team with guest speaker Chuck Todd, StraightTalk

Meet the 2017-18 Riley Institute Advance Team! Welcome to new and returning members!

This year's Advance Team comes from Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, Kathmandu, Nepal and China with varying majors that include Political Science, Psychology, History, Communication Studies, Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, Mathematics, Economics, French, Sociology, Chemistry, German and Poverty Studies. We, at the Riley Institute, are so proud of our Advance Team and look forward to working with each of you during this year's Riley events.

This year's Advance Team leader is Emma Jackson ('18) from Birmingham, AL (Political Science).

To kick-off the fall semester, the Advance Team hosted the Riley Institute's Summer Series with OLLIMedia and Politics in a Post-Truth Era, held on August 24, 31 and September 7, 2017. Sessions explored why we are so easily duped, how false stories impact politics and real news, and what we can do to fight back against the constant barrage of misinformation.The three evenings were sold out with crowds ranging from 600 – 1,800 people each week. The Advance Team was an integral part of managing seating and a plethora of other duties to make these events seamless. 

On August 31, the keynote speaker Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press” and NBC News political director, discussed One Anchor’s View of the 2016 Presidential Election and the Role of Fake News. This event, the second in the Summer Series with OLLI, was held at McAlister to accomodate the large crowd of Furman students, faculty and staff, and community members. Managing a large crowd presented its challenges, but with the competent and hard working Advance Team, everything was under control. 

As with all of our Riley guests that come to Furman to speak, we offer the Advance Team time to meet with the guest and ask questions. Chuck Todd was no exception. Prior to the event he met with the students, asked about what their plans for the future and answered questions. What a treat!

Next up for the Advance Team was celebrating Constitution Day. The Riley Institute had the pleasure of bringing Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to campus to talk about Black America Since MLK: A Conversation with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “Imagine if Martin Luther King woke up and he asked you, ‘What’s happened since I’ve been gone?’ What would you say? That is the conceit of the series,” explains Dr. Gates. His hope is that white and black Americans will listen as black people talk to each other about what their lives mean and what these events signify. 

On November 8 and 9, the Riley Institute hosted a National Conference on Climate Change featuring expert speakers on this subject such as Charles Bolden, former astronaut and head of NASA. While Emma Jackson was attending the APEC Conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, Dominic Travis stepped up to the plate delegating tasks to the Advance Team and overseeing the team at the event while managing seating of our guests. Great job Dominic! 

It has been an extremely busy fall for the Riley Institute and without the incredibly dedicated and talented Advance Team, we could not have managed all of these events. 

On January 9th, 2018, the Advance Team traveled to Columbia, SC to attend the Thirteenth Annual Wilkins Awards Dinner. Advance Team members were afforded the opportunity to mingle with South Carolina Legislators and distinguished community members while assisting the Riley Staff with working the event. This year’s winners were Representative Weston Newton, who received the 2017 Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership, and Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., who received the 2017 Wilkins Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership.

In the Spring 2018, the Riley Institute hosted two Fellows in Residence, Roberta Metsola, member of European Parliament (MEP) for Malta and member of the European People’s Party (EPP) Partit Nazzjonalista, who gave a public address on “Politics in the Age of Populism," March 22, and Jeffrey Ball, who gave a public address on the topic of "Sharp Fights and Hard Lessons in the Global Race for Cleaner Energy," March 28. The Advance Team was there to assist with both of these events.  

Thank you Advance Team members!