Policymakers, academics, and civic leaders emphasize the need to engage youth in the policy process to address the country’s seemingly intractable social challenges. The first and largest student-run policy organization in the United States, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, enables that engagement.
The Network brings young people together with local leaders and elected officials to identify pressing social challenges in their communities, counties, and states, and to develop and propose policy solutions to address them. With more than 10,000 members located in over 120 chapters on college campuses across the country, the Network reaches diverse students with curriculum, training, and leadership development programs designed to build the skills and relationships needed to bring about change in their own communities.
Their work has yielded significant impact. In Ithaca, New York, students designed and supported a Clean Air Act resolution to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Students helped spearhead a Los Angeles Community College District amendment to mandate that community colleges accept food stamps on campuses, increasing access to healthy food for hundreds of students living below the poverty line. In New Haven, Connecticut, students collaborated with a local alderman to institute a Community Rating System that allowed residents in vulnerable neighborhoods to receive a discount on flood insurance premiums.
The Network has created several successful platforms to elevate and share its innovative ideas, including its 10 Ideas series, consisting of six journals focused on student-authored policy proposals in areas ranging from equal justice to education and health care. In Blueprint for Millennial America, Budget for Millennial America, and Government By and For Millennial America, the Network united perspectives of more than 3,000 young people in a shared vision for the future of the country’s economy and democracy. It also identified policy structures and reforms necessary to realize that vision.
The Network will use its $750,000 MacArthur Award to create a cash reserve, modernize its data and communications infrastructure, and explore new approaches for engaging the nation’s youth.
Grantee Profile: Learn more about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute