SCUSA is the largest and most prestigious conference of its kind in the world, held at West Point every fall.
The Student Conference on U.S. Affairs is an annual four-day conference hosted at The United States Military Academy at West Point. The purpose of the conference is to facilitate interaction and constructive discussion between civilian student delegates and West Point cadets in order to better understand the challenges that the United States faces in an increasingly interconnected global society. SCUSA delegates attend panel discussions, hear from high-profile keynotes speakers, and develop policy recommendations over the course of four roundtable sessions. Roundtable sessions covering regional and topical demographic issues put delegates on the forefront of national issues, exposing them to complex problems facing leaders today. Delegates conclude the conference by submitting a policy recommendation to their peers, the best of which are published in the Undergraduate Journal of Social Sciences.
SCUSA also is a twelve-month leadership development opportunity for Cadets at West Point. Their goal is to solidify SCUSA’s standing as a world-class conference hosted exclusively by Cadets. The Cadet staff members balance the conference’s extensive planning and execution with their normal duty positions and academic course load.
The United States Military Academy first hosted SCUSA in 1948, approximately a century and a half after the “School by the Hudson” was founded in 1802. Since the inception of the conference, SCUSA has continuously brought the best and brightest from the nation’s top Social Science programs together to discuss current and emerging issues of national significance. Delegates of the 9th SCUSA conference in 1957 discussed the problems of a divided Germany and Japanese rearmament. The conference of 1977 (29th) focused on US policy with the USSR and the rapidly deteriorating nuclear situation. Most recently, Delegates discussed the framework of "Leading in Lean Times," and the conference aims to continue the tradition of forward thinking and rigorous discourse.
UNH Political Science Majors Brianna Cole and Ashley Marcoux participated in the 65th annual Student Conference on US Affairs at West Point. During the conference, the attendees were sorted into 15 roundtables to discuss the complex problems that our leaders face today. According to Ashley Marcoux, "our roundtable discussion focused on how social media can work as a tool to improve foreign perceptions of the United States. Our policy paper outlined options for expanding US public diplomacy efforts in Venezuela through existing social media platforms to mitigate anti-American sentiment." Brianna Cole had this to say about her roundtable discussion, "we focused on Former President Lula's legacy, Brazil's rise and South America's future. We also discussed Brazil's role as an emerging economy and world power. Our policy paper outlined ways to improve U.S.-Brazilian relations with specific regard to the economy."
Ultimatley both Ms. Marcoux and Ms. Cole concluded that, "SCUSA was a rewarding experience that gave us much more than we could have anticipated. We listened to experts discuss the scarcity of water and role of technology in today’s world. The conference also included mixers, socials, and some fabulous meals. Being with students who are passionate about world affairs and being thrown together on a breathtaking campus nestled on the Hudson was a marvelous experience. Working with some of the brightest minds in the country was extremely rewarding. Forming friendships with them was an extra special benefit."
If you would like to learn more about SCUSA and upcoming opportunities to attend the annual conference, go to https://westpoint.edu/academics/academic-departments/social-sciences/conferences/student-conference-on-us-affairs or contact the Political Science Department.