PHILADELPHIA â€“ As part of its 75th-anniversary celebration, the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania will host its third annual Public Policy Challenge. The public-policy competition will be held April 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. at WHYY, 150 N. 6th St. in Philadelphia.
Teams of Penn undergraduate and graduate students competed over the course of nine weeks to develop a policy proposal and civic campaign to address a specific issue affecting the Philadelphia region. Ten teams participated in rounds of workshops and consultations with mentors before engaging in a semi-final competition to determine the five teams that will present their proposals.
The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize and will face teams from schools across the country on April 22 at the National Invitational Public Policy Challenge at the National Constitution Center. Confirmed schools include Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, the University of Chicago and the University of Washington.
The Public Policy Challenge is presented by Deloitte Consulting. Additional sponsors include The Knight Foundation, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and Education-Plus Inc.
The five Penn teams and their proposals are:
- Closing Schools, Opening Opportunities â€“ A proposal to transform nine vacant school properties into vibrant community centers to counteract the potential blight and adverse economic effects of the school closures.
- Empower! â€“ A proposal to create a Spanish language radio program that informs parents of current happenings in the Philadelphia School District and provides them with the knowledge and resources to participate more fully in their children's education.
- Liberty Bike Share â€“ A proposal that adopts a new approach to the creation of a bike share program in Philadelphia.
- Philly Benefits Bus â€“ A proposal that utilizes a mobile benefit and application center to increase the accessibility of public benefits in high poverty neighborhoods.
- Medical Home Model â€“ A proposal to adopt the Medical Home Model to address current shortfalls in the ambulatory healthvcare services provided by the City of Philadelphia.
The Public Policy Challenge judges are Pennsylvania state Representatives Dwight Evans and Chris Ross; Deloitte Consulting Principal Patrick Joyce; Pedro Ramos, chair of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission; and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Marian Tasco.