This type of science outreach is meant to increase the general public's scientific literacy and raise awareness of key current issues in science, especially those with legislative or policy implications. Such initiatives generally involve events sponsored and organized by a college or university (with faculty and student volunteers spearheading the effort), group of institutions, or scientific society. These meetings, workshops, or other events are meant to achieve the above goals on the local, state, national, or international scale.
On the local scale, colleges and universities directly benefit from sponsoring these initiatives by fostering closer ties with the surrounding community. On all scales everyone benefits from constructive dialogue on key issues at the intersection of science and society that includes expert opinions and the latest findings.
Below are some Public outreach ideas for colleges and universities at the local level.
Local public outreach ideas
- Organize a public debate on a current scientific issue such as stem cell use.
- Organize a public panel discussion including Q&A on a current scientific issue such as GM foods. If possible bring in scientific experts (such as geneticists), industry representatives (such as an Agribusiness public relations officer), concerned citizens (such as farmers), and community leaders (such as local government) to sit on the panel.
- Organize a science fair with hands-on demonstrations for an informal education group such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, local youth groups, or church groups.