Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

For the latest information related to COVID-19, visit fsu.edu/coronavirus

Policy Pub returns with virtual “Pubinars” for Fall

Since its first session in September 2016, the monthly public forum series Policy Pub has grown into a hugely popular community event, packing a downtown Tallahassee bar-restaurant with engaged citizens eager to hear and talk about the vital issues and policy decisions that directly impact our lives. 

Scholars from the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy cover the economy, politics, the environment, growth and development, natural disaster response and recovery, aging and more. After these brief, plain-language talks, Pub-goers have the opportunity to ask questions and take part in discussions of the topic at hand. It has been a winning formula for an event the local and campus communities look forward to every semester.

With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting large public gatherings, it is not currently possible for Policy Pub to continue at Backwoods Bistro, its home for four years. But that doesn’t mean the public conversation can’t continue.

Beginning October 6, and running on select Tuesdays through November, Policy Pub continues with a new virtual “Pubinar” format that anyone can enjoy from the privacy of their own homes.

Unlike Zoom meetings where every participant is visible to all others “in the room,” the webinar format features a moderator and a presenter on screen, sharing visual materials related to the topic of the night. Attendees can choose to submit questions or comments through a written chat option to interact with the facilitator, speaker and other attendees.

Alan Rowan

The first session features Alan Rowan, Ph.D., from the college’s interdisciplinary public health program, speaking on a subject of great currency. An epidemiologist and much-sought public health expert for more than 25 years, Rowan will talk not just about the current pandemic but about what we can learn from this health crisis and others like it in the past to shed some light on how we manage such situations in the future.

The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place:

5:30-6:30 P.M.

“Going Viral: What We Can Learn from Pandemics Past, Present, and…”
Alan Rowan, Ph.D., FSU Public Health Program

Register to attend at https://fla.st/3iY5Lvq
(You will receive an email reply with a link to attend the webinar)

Attendees can recreate the Pub experience at home by enjoying meals or snacks and beverages while they listen to and interact with the faculty presenter. It is not necessary to have a Zoom account to participate.

“We’re excited to have the technical capacity to continue to keep people connected and engaged in important issues during this time of isolation,” said Deana Rohlinger, associate dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and founder of Policy Pub. “Even those with various degrees of ‘pandemic fatigue’ will want to hear the fresh insights and expertise that Dr. Rowan brings to our current circumstances.”

Rohlinger, a professor of sociology who acts as moderator of the sessions, said one the most positive aspects of the series is how public commentary and questions often bring new information and perspective to the subject covered by the faculty expert.

“In almost every session, there are people present who have their own body of knowledge and experience to share on the subject,” she said. “But it’s not necessary to have prior knowledge of the topic. We’re often challenged and educated by ordinary citizens who bring their personal take on these issues. And those who don’t participate directly in the comment portion of the evening still come away with new awareness of the policy decisions and actions that affect all our lives on a daily basis.”

The remaining Policy Pub sessions for the fall shift focus to other key topics for our time.

On Tuesday, October 20, Audrey Heffron-Casserleigh, a professor in the FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security program, will present “Intended Consequences: The Role of Fringe Movements in Civil Unrest.” The session will examine the mainstreaming of domestic terror groups and fringe movements such as QAnon, the Boogaloo and Sovereign Citizen, with a look at their recent role in violent counter-protesting.

The fall series wraps up on November 17 with a session in conjunction with the new FSU Institute of Politics (IOP). Professor of Political Science Hans Hassell, IOP director, will speak post-election on “Campaigns in a New Environment: A Retrospective into Political Campaigns in 2020.”

Both sessions will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

For more information about Policy Pub and details on each session, visit this link.