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Nicholas Institute Presidential Forum


On Friday, April 25, 2008, the Nicholas Institute and the Nicholas School hosted policy advisers to then-Presidential Candidates Clinton and Obama for a public forum on environmental and energy policies and positions.  An invitation was also extended to then-Candidate McCain's campaign, which declined to attend.

Taking place at Love Auditorium, the forum consisted of:

  • Dan Utech, environmental adviser to Mrs. Clinton
  • Jason Grumet, environmental adviser to Mr. Obama
  • Tim Profeta, Director of the Nicholas Institute, who served as moderator

Prior to the event, the Institute solicited questions from the student community and the general public for the candidates' reps.  A selection was drawn by Mr. Profeta and NSSC officers to cover a spectrum of environmental and energy issues.
The submitted questions were posed to the reps after they each gave opening remarks on their respective candidate's behalf.  Following this, the forum opened questions to audience members.

This was the first such discussion of the 2009 U.S. Presidential Campaign, where students and the public could interact with key policy advisers to major candidates.

Dean Bill Chameides gave the opening remarks.  Director Profeta provided the event concept and speaker invitations, and a NSSC student workgroup assisted with promotion and event logistics.  Nancy Kelly arranged the sustainable foods reception following the event.
Mr. Utech is now senior adviser to Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, and a member of President Obama's auto task force.  Mr. Grumet continues to head the National Commission on Energy Policy and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Community Response

The event drew near-capacity numbers to Love Auditorium, including students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community.  Both students and local news media were able to interact with the guests after the forum.