UWM community invited to UWM and FEMA Summit

The people and communities most affected by disasters may generate the best solutions to deal with similar challenges in the future, according to officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Housed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA is tasked with coordinating responses to disasters, including extreme heat, tornados and flooding, that overwhelm local and state authorities.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in a joint UWM and FEMA Summit on Thursday, Nov. 15. Sessions will run throughout the day, 8:30-4:30 p.m., at the Golda Meir Library.

“The purpose of the summit is to build a university-wide and agency-wide partnership with the goal of improving emergency management responses,” says Stan Stojkovic, dean of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.

The UWM/FEMA connection was forged by two UWM alumni and a criminal justice student, who worked with FEMA officials to help coordinate the nation’s first FEMA Think Tank. The now regularly scheduled Think Tank consists of two parts: an online forum and monthly conference-call discussions. UWM was the site for the first FEMA Think Tank conference call, held Jan. 26, 2012, with more than 600 participants from throughout the United States “dialing in.”

The goal of the summit is to begin relationships that could lead UWM and FEMA to collaborate on the following: emergency management-related research; establishing a structure for a cross-discipline approach to emergency management through innovation and research projects; using the FEMA Think Tank for project facilitation among academic and other community partners; developing a curriculum in emergency management preparedness; and obtaining individual input and constructive criticism of the FEMA Think Tank to assist the agency in refining a future vision.

There is no charge to attend the summit. Members of the university community can register at www.hbsswceh.uwm.edu. The deadline is Oct. 31.