On the last day of the meeting, both Arnaldo and Jill presented posters based on their PhD research. In addition, the conference held some of the best sessions for the week.
For example, one symposium included a retrospective view of the soda taxation initiatives that were voted on in Berkeley and San Francisco over the past couple of years. If you don’t know your California geography, Berkeley (pop’n: ~100,000) and San Francisco (pop’n: ~1,000,000) are about 10 miles apart, and these municipalities took slightly different approaches to taxing soda consumption in their municipalities. In the end, the measure passed in Berkeley, but failed in SF. The symposium discussion centred on the media campaigns and communication strategies used to sway voters one way or the other. It was a fascinating view of how industry and industry-supported lobbyists and government officials work to sway public opinion through the media, and how a grassroots movement can achieve success. Click here for more details on the history of Berkeley vs Big Soda.