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Bridging the Gap between Academia and Sacramento

October 16, 2013

Category: A Closer Look

Former State Senator Sam Blakeslee speaking at the luncheon.

On October 4, CSU’s Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST) hosted a one-day workshop at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where faculty and students in science disciplines learned successful strategies on how to bridge the gap between academia and Sacramento.

COAST collaborated with State Senator Sam Blakeslee and his staff at the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly SLO, the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences at Cal Poly SLO and the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology at CSU Monterey Bay to bring the “Connecting Science to Sacramento: The Role of Science in Policymaking” event to fruition. The workshop consisted of six sessions where legislators, state agency personnel, policy committee staff and journalists shared with faculty, staff, students and community leaders details about the policy and decision making process.

“There is an amazing wealth of knowledge in the CSU, and the faculty and staff want to learn how to connect with the legislature to help them make more informed decisions about coastal issues,” said COAST Director Dr. Krista Kamer.

The panels and workshops provided the opportunity for attendees to speak one-on-one with current and retired members of the legislature. Participants learned about state legislative and budget processes and timelines; how members of the legislature get information and make decisions; and how important trust is in establishing relationships with government leaders. Additionally, reporters and editors from local newspapers shared what type of ideas makes compelling stories and how to work with the media to get more coverage for science-related topics.

“The politicians and journalists brought an honest perspective about how to communicate effectively in Sacramento and how to be an advocate for your cause,” said Kamer.

Among the attendees were faculty and staff from San Francisco State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State L.A., Sacramento State, Cal State Bakersfield, Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Monterey Bay; students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and community leaders, including San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Howell Marx and Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons.

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