School of Public Policy Testing Student Simulation Competition

Drawing of city

The School of Public Policy (SPP) will host a beta test of the 2020 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition, an international event where students hone their skills in policy development, negotiation and critical thinking, using real-world data to address a hypothetical but realistic situation. The theme of the 2020 competition is sustainable cities, with a focus on transportation policy.

UMass students taking part in the Jan. 25 event will have an opportunity to preview this year’s simulation and potentially serve as mentors to other students taking part in the official competition, scheduled for late February. All UMass Amherst students, undergraduate and graduate, from any discipline, are invited to apply to take part in the beta test. 

The annual NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition is held at multiple sites around the world, with students working in teams to design actionable solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Over the course of the daylong competition, teams develop policies and strategies in response to hypothetical scenarios during a series of challenge rounds. At the end of the day, the groups present their proposed policy solutions to a panel of expert judges, who will select a winning team. 

Interested students are invited to an information session on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. in the Campus Center, room 174. The priority deadline to apply is Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m.

UMass Amherst will serve as just one of two testing sites for the 2020 competition. Members of the winning team will receive free travel to one of the domestic competition sites—Malibu; Puerto Rico; Washington, DC; Albany; or Dallas—to mentor competitors there.

“The NASPAA-Batten simulations give students the opportunity to apply many of the skills that they have learned at the School of Public Policy in a fun, fast-paced and realistic situation,” said Satu Zoller, SPP’s associate director. “It is also an opportunity to receive valuable feedback from experts in the field.”

The competition is sponsored by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration, with the simulations developed at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming. Past competitions have focused on migration, pandemics and food insecurity, among other topics.