Fusion Day is March 1st

Posted by Rezwan Razani on Feb 03, 2012 at 08:36 AM
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below! | forums Discuss In Forums

The date for Fusion Day 2012 is Thursday, March 1st.  This coincides with the FESAC meeting that is scheduled for February 28th and 29th in Bethesda, MD.  If you haven’t already, it’s time to make your travel and meeting arrangements.

What is Fusion Day?

“Fusion Day” is an annual event coordinated by members of the fusion community (see “Official Announcement” below).  It is a government relations event, an outreach from fusion scientists to politicians on Capitol Hill.

On this day, representatives of the various labs, universities and fusion projects make their way to our nation’s capital to visit their district’s congressional representatives, senators, and members of various committees.  Not everyone goes, and not every fusion project is represented as “labs want to spend their congressional brownie points in a certain way.” There is strategy behind these meetings. Appointments are made in advance. 

I plan to attend this year as an observer.  A first timer, I am most interested in getting a sense of the strategy that the fusion advocates are deploying, and the fusion story being told on Fusion Day. 

Is it open to the Public?

Public participation is not a feature at this time, although there is discussion to have it in the future.  The idea is to stage a festive fusion event for the public nearby to coincide with fusion day. Lab reps will then be able to invite congressional reps and staff to partake of the fusion fun and meet the fusion-loving public (a growing voter demographic).  Can’t you just see it!  Let’s make it happen.

Official Announcement

The following announcement was sent to members of the fusion community: 

As you are no doubt aware, in this time of budget austerity, it is imperative that we continue to educate members of Congress and their staff about the importance of fusion energy research and plasma science.  We have a good story to tell – but we need you to come to Washington to tell it.

Fusion Day activities will begin with a casual dinner the night of Wednesday, February 29th.  We will use this time to discuss our message and strategize for our individual congressional meetings.

On Thursday morning, we will meet for breakfast, during which time we will hopefully hear from House and/or Senate staff about their expectations for the upcoming legislative year before everyone sets out for their meetings.  Please work with your government affairs representatives to begin scheduling your meetings.  March is a busy time for Congressional staff, so their calendars can fill up quickly.  You are encouraged to cast a wide net when scheduling these meetings.  Although it is important for our supporters to be kept up-to-date on fusion activities, we must also reach out to those members who may be unfamiliar with, or indifferent to, fusion.

For planning purposes, please let us know if you will be attending.  As always, feel free to share this announcement with your interested colleagues and please let me or any of the other Fusion Day coordinating team members (listed below) know if you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions.

We look forward to seeing all of you!

Abby Benson – MIT
Bill Bruner – LLNL
Paul Doucette – Battelle
Julie Groeninger – Princeton
Mark Haynes – Tech X
Mike Telson – General Atomics

A Good Story to Tell

The announcement above says: “We have a good story to tell – but we need you to come to Washington to tell it.”

This is the crux of the matter.  What is the good fusion story, specifically?  Have we all received the memo on the official “Fusion Story Elevator Pitch”? 

There’s a brilliant story to be told in fusion, but I sense that we haven’t worked it all out yet.  Have we figured out the best way to tell it yet?  What about the uncomfortable bits, the undiscussible portions, the places we gloss over?  Is this story all it can be, or do strands of inauthenticity still trip it up?

We’d like to hear the fusion stories out there.  Which ones are used the most?  Which ones work the best with the Washington crowd? Which ones resonate the best with other demographics?  Which ones seem the most authentic?

Join the Conversation

Forum posts have been set up to facilitate this conversation and flesh out fusion story.  For example:

These posts are under our new forum category: “Creating Conditions for Fusion Research to Thrive”.

Indeed, the forums are all new, with sparse posting.  Please jump in and speak your piece.  We want to have the fusion conversation 365 days a year, not just one day on the hill. 

And a final postscript, for those who are squeamish at the thought of conversation, check out these affirming, inspiring books:




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