When we hear the words “public policy,” many of us think of Washington and the responsibilities of government officials. We rarely think of the role that business schools play—and yet perhaps we should.

In 2012, I want to challenge Wharton alumni to join our students, faculty and staff in contributing their talents and energies to public-sector efforts around the world.

Wharton is a dynamic institution with real-world expertise across numerous fields, including public policy. A significant corps of faculty across all 11 of our teaching departments conducts research that influences government decision-making, and students at all levels—undergraduate, MBA and doctoral—have the option of focusing their studies on the intersection of business and public policy. Increasingly, we are placing a limited number of students, some of them supported by the Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Program, in internships and jobs in the public sector.

It makes a great deal of sense, for government is a key influence on business, and business has much to offer government. Since our founding in 1881, Wharton has been dedicated to enhancing social and economic welfare around the world. A renewed commitment to enhancing public policy is merely a natural extension of that founding ethos, and it couldn’t come at a more critical time.

This moment of global uncertainty has made it clear that being a force for good doesn’t just mean good business; it means good public policy as well.