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2020 Student Paper Competition


2020 Student Paper Competition

May 27, 2020

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“Education is not the filling of a pail,

but the lighting of a fire.”

— William Butler Yeats


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals serve as a call to action for all countries of the world to promote health, safety, and prosperity while protecting the planet.  They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs, and they call upon the creativity, know-how, technology, and resources from all of society to achieve them.

This is list of 17 goals to transform our world:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

To highlight the power of standards as a tool in these efforts, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 2020 Student Paper Competition asks you to choose one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and explore the ways in which standards play a role in achieving it, or could in the future. Your paper should identify a relevant standard or multiple standards and discuss how they can contribute to strategies and solutions for reaching the targets set out in one of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Here are the guidelines:

Be written and submitted by student(s) (associate, undergraduate, or graduate, in any discipline) enrolled full- or part-time during the period of September 2019 to April 2020 at an institute of higher education located in the United States or its territories

Include a title and a list of names of all contributing authors, their contact details, and the affiliated institute of higher education

Be prefaced with an abstract of no more than 400 words

Be less than 2,000 words (not including requirements #2 and #3 above, notes, tables, charts, and a bibliography which may not exceed 3 pages)

Be in English and suitable for publication (nal editing assistance will be provided before publication of winning papers)

Be submitted in electronic format, preferably Microsoft Word or other revisable format, in 12-point type size

Be original and not previously published (copyright will remain with the author; winners grant publication rights to ANSI, as well as the right to release entries to other media)

More detail is available in the link below:

ANSI Student Paper Competition 2020 – Papers Due 31 May 2020*

Standards Michigan will host four 11 AM/ET Saturday workshop in 2020 for anyone interested in guidance within the limits of our expertise.  (See our ABOUT).

January 18

February 15

March 14

April 18

May 23

May 30

Students and faculty sponsoring students are welcomed to click in.   Standards Michigan is a member of the ANSI Committee on Education and collaborates closely with two University of Michigan faculty familiar with the competition.  See our CALENDAR for login credentials.

*On March 23rd, the ANSI Committee on Education moved the deadline back a month, owing to global pandemic circumstances.



Student Paper Winners / 2016-2019


H.R. 5243 / Closing the Homework Gap Through Mobile Hotspots

May 27, 2020

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Photo by Architect of the Capitol | Left: The teacher and children in a “little red schoolhouse” represent an important part of American education in the 1800s.
Right: Students attend a land grant college, symbolic of the national commitment to higher learning.

A BILL: To amend the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act to establish a mobile hotspot grant program, and for other purposes.


Federal Action

May 27, 2020

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“Washington Crossing the Delaware” 1851 / Emanuel Leutze


“The supply of government exceeds the demand”

— Lewis Lapham


Once per month we walk through the legislative and executive action that affect cost in the education facility industry; with special attention to the way money flows into physical infrastructure.   The education industry builds about $80 billion of new or renovated square footage it every year — and takes another $240 billion to manage it — making it the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States (CLICK HERE for our coverage of the monthly US Commerce Department report on construction activity).

Three-hundred billion running through any industry sets the foundation for market-making by incumbent stakeholders (“niche verticals“) using legislative processes.   Incumbents work the market on 2-3 fronts:

  • Direct legislative influence — i.e. crafting new legislation, or revising legacy legislation
  • Writing passages in codes and standards that are incorporated by reference into new or legacy legislation
  • Executive action

Some administrative information is available at the link below:

Congressional Budget Office: Education

We do not advocate in legislative action at any level — we are not lobbyists or communication consultants — but it is wise to follow because, when commenting opportunities present themselves, some knowledge of action elsewhere informs our response to the development of the consensus  products that do affect the cost of education in the United States.   From time to time we find adjustments to the “boilerplate” legislation referenced in construction project bidding documents (Davis-Bacon Act, OSHA Rules of Construction, etc.)

The ferocity of federal-level action may surprise you; with food, technology and energy-related proposals the most fierce; soon to be replaced in ferocity by legislative solutions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We list a few proposals from the present (116th Congress) below:


S. 3397 / INSPIRES Act

S. 1611 / DIGIT ACT












To understand the underpinning of how codes and standards are developed, adopted and enforced, education facility managers should keep in mind that equipment and systems do not vote.  The people who invent, build, install and maintain them do vote.   We find that state agencies that administer the building codes for schools, colleges and universities are heavily influenced by labor interests.   As one of the largest construction markets in the United States, labor and financial market incumbents are involved.  For example, some labor unions devote resources to getting out the vote for school bond referendums in order to make work for their members.   Usually this outsized influence is for the better; but not always.  We devote an hour every month to State Action.   See our CALENDAR.

We are happy to walk you through all, or all of the most relevant, legislative proposals as of this posting.   Our algorithm picks up public commenting opportunities that federal agencies post on changes to existing legislation on a near-hourly basis.  We curate and list them a few in the link below:

Standing Agenda / US Federal Regulations

Energy-related proposals that affect the education industry energy agenda has also been omitted from this list and referred to our monthly Electrical, Mechanical and Energy standards teleconferences (See our CALENDAR).    Energy legislation and regulations are a crazy space and needs a separate meeting.  We host a monthly Energy Standards and  Management & Finance teleconference that cover public commenting opportunities in those spaces.


115th Congress. Photo Credit: Pew Research Center



PBS-P100 Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service General Services Administration

Extension of the Section 179D deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings in H.R. 1865

ANSI CEO Joe Bhatia explains the US Technology Transfer & Advancement Act at the University of Michigan.

*(CLICK HERE for our post on how the Canadian Parliament reckons with the strengths and weaknesses of this law-making technique)

**As of this post, there is no publicly available group photo of the 116th Congress

Workspace: Federal Action

S. 3589 / Use Your Endowment Act

May 27, 2020

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115th Congress. Photo Credit: Pew Research Center

The Use Your Endowment Act would ban colleges or universities with endowments above $10 billion from receiving CARES Act funds.

Distance Education and Innovation

May 27, 2020

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Lyndon Baines Johnson Federal Building / US Department of Education

The purpose of these distance education and innovation regulations is to reduce barriers to innovation in the way institutions deliver educational materials and opportunities to students, and assess their knowledge and understanding, while providing reasonable safeguards to limit the risks to students and taxpayers. Institutions of higher education may be dissuaded from innovating because of added regulatory burden and uncertainty about how the Department will apply its regulations to new types of programs and methods of institutional educational delivery.

Docket ID:ED-2018-OPE-0076

We will review the 248 comments already received during our next Federal Action Teleconference.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.   Ahead of that meeting, we’ve picked a few representative comments to enlighten understanding:

Western Governors University

National Student Legal Defense Network

Center for American Progress


Open for Comment

May 27, 2020
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This post is in the process of being re-coded to synchronize with our public commenting tracking algorithm. The technical substance is here but we are working to make it easier for our colleagues to keep pace and interact with it.

Our algorithm slices horizontally through an expanding universe of best practice literature (consensus products) of 1000-odd private sector standard setting organizations every day.  These 1000-odd developers throw off the better part of 10,000 consensus products relevant to the safety and sustainability agenda of education communities.  These products compete with national, state and local legislative proposals — many which are drafted by lobbying organizations , communication consultants, congressional staffers, elected representatives and student interns.

The standards-setting space may be characterized by ferocious competition among partisans of “top-down” regulations, free-booting innovators aligned with consortia and open-source platforms and the public private partnerships contemplated in the United States Standards System.   Innovators in every nation know, instinctively, that in order for their innovation to succeed, they need market acceptance.   Most developed nations have public statutes that recognize the primary efficacy of private standards setting organizations in leading practice discovery and promulgation.  See our coverage of the National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act.

A small sample of the action of ANSI-accredited standards setting organizations can be viewed the weekly update of  ANSI Standards Action.  Most consortia have open-ended commenting periods so we respond to them on the topics that are scheduled on our CALENDAR.

Wednesday | May 27, 2020

We are not lobbyists but we follow legislation that is sometimes written by lobbyists retained by incumbent niche verticals we identify throughout the Standards Michigan platform. You may directly access draft federal legislation at this link:

There are also hundreds of education industry non-profit organizations with enterprises  active in federal-level statecraft.

We curate the stream of Congressional proposals and Executive actions that may affect the cost of education community settings but go no further.  A  great deal of that cost structure involves technologies and practices that are “stable” (such as labor laws) or outside the wheelhouse of privately developed consensus products where our tenure in the United States Standards System resides.

Open for Comment / Federal Action

Readings / Higher Education Act of 1965

Readings / Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Thursday | May 28, 2020

Open for Comment / Finance

Friday | May 29, 2020

Open for Comment / Disaster

Saturday | May 30, 2020

MSU Symphony Orchestra

Sunday | May 31, 2020

Pentecost University Choir


2020 Student Paper Competition



*Not all public commenting opportunities relevant to the safety and sustainability agenda of the education facility industry appear in “ANSI Standards Action”. Many best practice standards reside in consortia and open-source platforms; particularly ICT and IoT standards. In many economic spaces, privately-developed consensus products compete with local, state and federal legislative proposals.


May 27, 2020

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The Birth of a Building: Constructing the United States National Museum

The construction industry is one of the largest employers in any community and, as such, a significant generator of employment.  The so-called “multiplier effect” cited by economists means that when you add one person working in the construction industry you create two additional jobs in other sectors.

The construction industry is also one of the most heavily regulated; heavy regulation being a characteristic of many solid, but slow-growth economic sectors.

As public assets, education facilities are much like federal facilities — both expected to have a long life-cycles — reflected in the guidance in the in the link below.   In privately developed best practice literature authored by ANSI-accredited standards developers you will find federal regulations heavily referenced; but not the other way around.

Code of Federal Regulations Title 41: PART 102-76—DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

We track action in federal design and construction regulations because federal regulatory bodies are relatively well staffed.  Some within those groups may say otherwise but that is another discussion.  Federal regulators know know what other federal agencies are doing — such as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the Department of Energy  — and they seem to keep pace with private, non-profit standards developers.  Also: many colleges and universities enjoy the “halo effect” of having a National Laboratory or a Presidential Library * present within or near the footprint of their campus.  With the  halo comes the obligation to maintain separate staffing of finance and facility management professionals.

By statue (National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act) federal agencies defer to private standards setting organizations.   The limit of our attention in this section of the Code of Federal Regulations ends here.

We maintain federal construction standards on the standing agenda of our Model Building Code and Federal teleconferences.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

*  The University of Michigan, Harvard University, the University of Arkansas, and three other Texas universities — University of Texas at Austin,  Texas A&M and Southern Methodist University — are locations of presidential libraries governed by the provisions of this section of the Code of Federal Regulations









H.R. 865 / Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2019

May 27, 2020

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Photo by Architect of the Capitol | Left: The teacher and children in a “little red schoolhouse” represent an important part of American education in the 1800s.
Right: Students attend a land grant college, symbolic of the national commitment to higher learning.


National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act | Part 2 of 2

May 27, 2020

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“Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky” | Benjamin West (1816)


“The supply of government exceeds the demand”

—  Lewis Lapham


We would like to circle back to our February 2015 coverage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act because it forms a significant part of the foundation for technological self-determination of most US industries — including the education and health care industry.   This time we have the good fortune of having this topic enlightened by the time and expertise of Andrew Updegrove of Gesmer Updegrove, LLC — one of the leading names in global standards setting, promotional consortia and open source foundations.

Issue: [11-31]

Category: Academics, Administration & Management, Public Policy, US Department of Commerce

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Christine Fischer, Rich Robben, Andrew Updegrove


Experts Discuss Incorporation by Reference at the ANSI Legal Issues Forum

Chevron Deference

Code of Federal Regulations Incorporation by Reference

NIST | Standards Incorporated by Reference

National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act

Canadian Parliament Debate on Incorporation by Reference


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