Sunday, the Michigan Foreign Policy Council held its inaugural conference in the Rackham Amphitheatre, presenting the research club members conducted over the course of the semester to 30 audience members. Students discussed the effects of government stability on humanitarian intervention, the success of antibiotic stewardship programs and the impacts of public opinion on the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
All of the research was published in a new academic journal titled Michigan Foreign Policy Review.
LSA senior Evan Viau, club president and founder, said he was impressed with the club members’ research throughout the semester and how they were able to put it together for this final presentation.
“I couldn’t be more proud of everyone,” Viau said. “This being our first semester, there were a lot of roadblocks. The level of work that we were able to put in our first semester and the level of work that our first and second year students were able to achieve — I’m impressed, I’m floored.”
LSA sophomore Nicole Dean, who studied the effectiveness of antibiotic stewardship programs, echoed Viau's statement.
“It felt really good to show everyone how much work we put into this research,” she said. “I was excited to share it with everyone else.”
Dean’s research revolved around finding the best approach to the health issues caused by antimicrobial resistance when microbes resist medications previously used to treat them. She and her fellow group members explored how the rates of AMR changed when stewardship programs were implemented.
Despite the positive end product of the research, LSA freshman Daniel Evans, who looked at public opinion’s impact on the Paris climate agreement, said there were some challenges.
“It was very time intensive,” he said. “Given that it’s my first semester here, it’s my first exposure to more rigorous research, which I think is fun and rewarding, but it definitely took some time.”
Viau also noted he was disappointed with the low turnout at the event.
“I would’ve hoped for a few more people,” he said. “One of the things as a new student org that is one of the biggest challenges is kind of gaining credibility and a voice on campus. Leveraging social media and all that is going to take some time to build up so we’ll see how that goes.”
LSA sophomore Sara Bruce said moving forward, some of the club members hope to expand on the research that they presented during the conference.
“In the future, what we’re going to hope to do is write policy proposals based on our research,” she said. “Since it is our first semester, we had a limited amount of time, but in the future, we’d like to take our research and make suggestions to sort of solve the problems.”
Regarding his own research, Evans said he hopes it helps inform people about the Paris climate agreement.
“I’d like to see it be read by more people and perhaps see other people improve upon it because Paris is a recent event so there’s lots to uncover,” he said.
Though he acknowledged the club has room to grow, Viau emphasized that he felt proud about the progress his team members have made so far.
“When I first had this idea last fall, I didn’t imagine we’d be packing people into a room on a Sunday right before finals to talk about foreign policy,” Viau said. “I was always cautious and hopeful, and to see that people have coalesced around this and that it will continue next semester, I couldn’t be more proud or be more happy.”