European Union Policy Studies

Message from the Director

Spring 2017

Dr. John Scherpereel, Director JMU M.A. in Political Science

Dear Alumni and Friends of the EUPS Program,

Preparations are in full swing for the EUPS program’s tenth anniversary celebration. Over forty program alumni and friends will meet in Florence this May to discuss the program’s past, present, and future, to deepen old friendships, and to build new connections.

It has been wonderful, in recent months, to talk to so many alums about this event. Everyone who is making the trip is getting excited. But I’ve also had many conversations that involve a bit of regret; “the event sounds great, but I just can’t make it work!” I understand that sentiment 100% and know that professional, personal, and other obligations frequently stand in the way of events like this. If you’re not able to be in Florence from May 4 – May 7, rest assured: you’ll be represented in spirit, and there will other events down the road. If you feel your ears burning in May, you’ll know that someone in Florence is relating a favorite story that involves you!

Alumna Abby Ware (M.A. 2012) writes more about the 10th Anniversary Celebration in this issue of the newsletter. As Abby notes, planning the celebration has been a collaborative effort and has involved a lot of work by alumni, staff, and friends on both sides of the Atlantic. This event is the latest instance of the amazing engagement of alums and friends that has emerged as a program hallmark in recent years. Alums and friends are contributing to the program’s vitality in so many ways. They’re planning and hosting events. They’re coming to Harrisonburg and going to other colleges and universities to talk to undergraduates. They’re organizing a strong program presence at EU Open Days and at graduate school fairs. They’re reaching out to recently accepted students, contributing to the program’s foundation account, and more.

In the hopes of keeping this momentum alive, I’d like to announce the establishment of an EUPS advisory board.  I see the board as having four big goals—supporting students currently in the program, supporting alums’ professional development, supporting student recruitment, and fundraising. I’ll follow up in the coming months with more details about structure and process, but here are some general parameters: ideally, the board will have 11 members, initially comprised of five alums from classes that graduated before 2013, three alums from classes that (will) have graduated in or after 2013, and one person who is not a program alum. I envision the board as meeting occasionally and turning over with some frequency. The goal, in that regard, is to get a variety voices represented.

If that idea sounds interesting to you, I’d strongly encourage you to consider it! The nomination/self-nomination process for board positions will open later this spring (be ready for the e-mail), and on-line voting for board members will take place in early summer (be ready for that e-mail, too); we’ll aim to get the membership nailed down by late June/early July.

In the meantime, I’d encourage all program alums and friends to stay tuned apprised and attuned to developments in the EU and the transatlantic relationship and to make your voices heard in your communities. All of us experience the program in different ways, but we all have “special relationships” to the EU, and we all have deep and nuanced understandings of transatlanticism. As the American administration establishes itself and big elections take place in founding EU member states, let’s continue to reflect on our experiences. And let’s work towards a durable, mutually productive, and peaceful transatlantic community held together by shared values.

Tanti saluti, e forza JMU!

John Scherpereel

John Scherpereel

Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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