The Riley Institute Advance Team is made up of select students who are passionate about politics and public policy, enjoy discussions with their peers about critical issues, and relish the chance to meet and talk with high-profile speakers who are guests of the Riley Institute. The impact of a conversation with figures and leaders such as NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, former NASA head Charles Bolden, or PBS’s president and CEO Paula Kerger is significant and long lasting.

“The Advance Team has provided an outlet for me to forge meaningful connections alongside some of the most thoughtful critical thinkers I have had the pleasure of knowing. The Advance Team has challenged me to never settle for ‘good enough’ in the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and change in our communities. I will carry that with me beyond my time at Furman.” Abby Mathai, 2020-21 Advance Team leader

“Being on the Advance Team has been an enriching experience and one I would recommend to any students interested in public policy, especially politics majors. I have enjoyed having open, civil, and substantive conversations with my peers about the most pressing issues our country faces.” Price St. Clair, 2021-2022 Advance Team leader

Most visibly, the Advance Team provides indispensable aid to the Riley Institute by staffing and helping to execute public events. In addition to on-campus events, Advance Team members serve as hosts for the annual OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Awards in Columbia each January. This signature event draws many members of the state legislature, as well as community and corporate leaders from across South Carolina.

With the support of the Riley Institute, the Advance Team works collaboratively each year to conceptualize, plan, and implement an event from beginning to end. Their efforts have resulted in bringing a former U.S. ambassador, a former governor, sitting S.C. state representatives, and high-level journalists to Furman.

See Advance Team events