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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student conference to examine problems facing the nation

The 2015 SCONA conference will gather delegates from across the country to come up with solutions to problems facing the United States.
The three-day event, titled “Surviving Ourselves: Igniting the Human Potential,” marks SCONA’s 60th annual conference. The Student Conference on National Affairs will host four speakers this year, including the current chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and a former director of the NSA and CIA.
Katie Scott, SCONA chair and international studies senior, said this year’s conference is focused on international and domestic human capital issues.
“We are looking at how much we are worth in society and what limits us and what are some innovative ways that we can overcome challenges that face us domestically and internationally,” Scott said. “Part of how we are going to do that is by looking at other countries and seeing how they handle issues like immigration and domestic poverty and their military and seeing what they are doing.”
Scott said other speakers include William Davis, director of the United Nations Development Programme in the Washington Representation Office and Texas A&M international studies assistant professor Dinah Hannaford.
Hannaford said university faculty often push students to think critically inside and outside the classroom. She wants the conference to be a chance for students to critically examine the issues and view them from new perspectives.
“So, what I hope is that my discussion will make them consider what kind of assumptions are already in the term ‘human capital’ and to always look for issues of who has power and what kind of ways power gets used,” Hannaford said.
Scott said national affairs affect everyone and she wants the A&M community to know how national affairs impact them.
“Whether you are a lawyer, doctor or engineer, whatever your major is, the policies that are enacted by our leaders will affect your life,” Scott said. “So, knowing about them and having ideas and opinions about them is super important.”
Evan Flores, SCONA media representative and international studies senior, said he encourages students to attend, regardless of major.
“Any kind of perspective that can be brought to it — as an international studies major I might not understand one of the topics that might deal with engineering, or architecture, or economy,” Flores said. “So we need delegates who can come in and can bring that technical point of view, and the knowledge and expertise on those kind of things.”
Flores said the three-day conference features a series of roundtables, wherein participating students are presented a particular topic or issue and challenged to create a feasible solution. Flores says the roundtable draws crowds of students from across the nation.
“They make a proposal and they have speakers and facilitators there at their own roundtables,” Flores said. “At the end of it we compare and compete and see who has the best written policy, content wise and also just really creative ideas as well. Luckily we are able to have great ideas, past years have been really great.”
The conference begins on Feb. 19 and runs through Feb. 21. While the roundtables are only available to registered delegates, the speaker sessions are free and open to the public.

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