One of the most unique aspects of the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy is its informal access to the policymakers, lawmakers, and analysts in Washington, D.C and Virginia's Capital. The goal of the Friday Policy Dialogues is to engage students in a topic to which they may or may not have some prior exposure, and through direct discussions with policymakers and policy practitioners, to provide the opportunity for them to develop an informed perspective. The informal Policy Dialogue contacts with practitioners made by students as part of the process are an important part of the Friday routine.
The Friday Dialogues are held at the William & Mary Washington office (located in the Carnegie Endowment building near Dupont Circle) and various Richmond locations. Typically, speakers address the group in a conference-room setting, with a break for lunch in the middle. The tone is informal, providing MPP students a chance for unstructured interactions with high-level Washington policymakers. The day typically finishes with a networking reception for participants, MPP alumni, and selected others. Those who choose to do so return to Williamsburg on Friday evening.