"Students at the White House Conference, 1969"
The White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health took place at a time of turmoil in American politics and society. The cresting of broad-based student activism in the United States led to the inclusion in the conference of the task force on “voluntary actions by students and faculty in colleges and universities.” While not particularly influential in itself – perhaps not even the most important point of student involvement – the story of this group offers an interesting perspective on the conference as a whole. The tumultuous environment and ambivalent politics that surrounded the conference helped shape its outcomes and affect public policy practices and debates even today. Beyond these specific issues, the course of subsequent events and the experiences of participants may be of interest to today’s students, who as citizens and professionals are likely to face somewhat similar circumstances.
André Mayer has held positions in the field of education and workforce development policy, including director of planning for the Massachusetts public higher education system, senior vice president at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and president of the New England Economic Partnership. Educated at Harvard and Berkeley, he has published books, articles, and reviews in a range of fields, including historical scholarship, agriculture, and detective fiction.