Five awesome Public Affairs Conference sessions for students

The 2017 Public Affairs Conference schedule is filled with sessions, speakers and fun. Here is a list of five that you don’t want to miss!

How did we get here? An historical perspective on our wild 2016 electionamerican flag

There is no better way to kick off the 2017 Public Affairs Conference than to talk about hottest topic right now. Let’s discuss the topic everyone is tweeting about, including the president.

Presidential historian, journalist and best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin takes the Public Affairs stage with a unique political background. Previously serving for Lyndon B. Johnson, she will give us an insight and rich history on a political climate that was much simpler than the one that exists today.

Goodwin will offer hope in our lasting democracy that remains as the strong stilts in a seemingly broken political culture. Come experience the energy and excitement at 7:30 p.m. April 4 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

Don’t fear the faucet or the swimming hole

What does the Earth, your brain and a living tree have in common? Each of these is mostly composed of water. Although the Earth is covered with liquid, nearly 97 percent of Earth’s water is undrinkable.

This session will discuss our citizen responsibility to conserve and protect this resource which is essential for life. As water becomes less plentiful, the risks become greater. Let’s learn how to find our capes and save the resource that saves us.

John Bongiorno, President of WorldServe International, is among one of the presenters at this this session at 10:30 a.m. April 5.

Majority norms and minority communitiesstudents walking on campus

We are all on the pursuit of happiness, so how can we create an environment for all to reach happiness? Since our society is consistent with majoritarian norms, this means others are expected to adapt accordingly.

Diversity is one of America’s greatest assets, but there are several obstacles that accompany differences. Let’s discuss the friction and work toward creating a sandpaper to ensure the pursuit of happiness for everyone.

This presentation will include four presenters from experts around the world in race, sexuality, religion, economics and politics. Starting at 3 p.m. April 5, join us in talking about these hot topics.

On mental health

Facts first: The National Center for Health Statistics reports that suicide rates have increased nearly 25 percent over the last 15 years.

Let that number sink in and then ask yourself: What is fueling these alarming figures? How is this crisis being addressed and even more importantly, how important can your role be in mental health?

Mental health is invisible to the eye, so it is a topic that demands thorough investigation and understanding. Let’s come together and aim to remove any stigma tied to mental illness in hopes of changing our campus, community and world.

You won’t want to miss this session at 10:30 a.m. April 6 to explore mental health and your part in changing the first fact.

Is it possible to become happier and, if yes, how?smiling students on campus

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the Declaration of Independence. But what is happiness? What are we chasing? How will we reach it? We are on the same pursuit, but our destinations could be entirely different.

According to plenary speaker Sonja Lyubomirsky, not only does happiness feel good, it is good. In this session, Lyubomirsky will unload research and simple practices to increase happiness for all individuals.

This session has the power to transform your life, so you will want to be at the PSU at 7:30 p.m. April 6.

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