COURTESY OF ALLIE FIGLIN
Although the pandemic has not affected the number of events the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service puts on, the way public educational events are hosted has changed.
Through a virtual setting, the institute is able to reach a much larger audience. However, Cornell Clayton, director of the Foley Institute, said one downside of the pandemic is that people are not able to personally meet the speakers.
“We normally run anywhere from between 40 to 50 events each year, being at least once a week,” he said.
All events are live-streamed on YouTube. The pandemic has enabled the Foley Institute to have a larger variety of speakers since they no longer need to travel to the WSU Pullman campus, said Allie Figlin, student intern for the Foley Institute.
The Foley Institute was established through a congressional endowment to honor the service of the late Thomas S. Foley, who was a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Clayton said.
Clayton said the Foley Institute’s mission is to engage young people in public service and educate the public about the function and operation of democratic institutions.
All statewide elected officials are invited each year to speak at the Foley Institute, he said.
“Each year we do a series of collaborative programs with different units on campus, as well as bringing in those speakers that can address current issues that students and faculty would have interest in,” he said.
Figlin said her main job is to let people know what is going on with the Foley Institute and to inform the public about speakers for each event.
“We make posters that include information about upcoming events, run the calendar website for the institute and I also handle a lot of the social media by scheduling Tweets,” she said.
Figlin said because of the pandemic, she no longer has to pay for travel expenses like she normally would.
“This is my fifth semester as an intern for the Foley Institute,” she said. “We had a lot more interns when I first started but they either graduated or COVID limited the amount of interns.”