Public Affairs Month under way at IU Northwest

There’s something for nearly everyone in SPEA Public Affairs Month at IU Northwest, which started last week and continues through April. Sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the celebration features lectures, panels and forums on criminal justice, public health and much more.

Now in its 24th year, the celebration has a tradition of bringing together students, faculty, staff and community on the Gary campus for free events on timely topics in public affairs and public service.

Joseph Pellicciotti

Joseph Pellicciotti

“From the beginning, SPEA saw this as a celebration to be shared by all – by the campus and extended communities,” says Joseph Pellicciotti, IU Northwest vice chancellor for administration and professor of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “We have always encouraged attendance by the community, and many events were very well-attended by those in our region.”

The monthlong event includes weeks focused on criminal justice, health, nonprofit organizations and civic engagement, and government and public policy. A few highlights include:

  • Presentations on using geographic information systems in health care and government.
  • A seminar on fundraising for nonprofit organizations.
  • A workshop on resume-building and interview skills for students, faculty and staff.
  • A 10-year analysis of the delivery of emergency services in Gary.
  • Presentations on research by students in SPEA capstone classes.

Pellicciotti, who was director of SPEA at IU Northwest when Public Affairs Month launched, said it grew out of the 1989 report by the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The report lamented a rise in cynicism and apathy about government and called for a renewed sense of commitment to public service.

“The faculty of SPEA, from those early years of the celebration, saw the special week of events as helping to focus attention on the value and rewards of public service,” Pellicciotti said. Eventually the week focused on public affairs grew to a month.

In its early years, the event brought to campus former Govs. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts and James Thompson of Illinois, former Sens. George McGovern and Adlai Stevenson III, former Reps. Bella Abzug and Abner Mikva, and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

A news release about Public Affairs Month includes a complete schedule of events.


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