In addition to supporting the conferences and events presented by the Riley Institute each year, the Riley Institute Advance Team works collaboratively to conceptualize, plan, and implement an event from beginning to end. Beginning with their initial team training in August, the team members will discuss topics of interest to them and to the student body at Furman. Once they reach a consensus on a theme, they will then identify speakers who can share experience and expertise relevant to the topic. Their efforts have resulted in bringing a former U.S. ambassador, a former governor, current S.C. state representatives, and high level journalists to Furman to provide expertise and valuable perspectives on issues of importance to students and the general public today.
With the support of the Riley Institute, the Advance team intern manages the event, and the students collaborate on theme, marketing strategy, invitation to guest(s), venue reservation and set up, and the overall flow of the program. Typically, at least one member of the Advance team plays a role in giving a welcome to the audience, and team members often ask carefully thought-out questions of the speaker. The events are unfailingly well-done and highly informative, and the team members are suitably proud of the excellent programs they have created.