School’s out for summer! Finally. And trust me, no one is happier to welcome a summer break than we are. Virginia21 has had one busy - and successful - year. Our fall campaign elevated the voices of millennials by collecting the top issues of over a thousand young Virginians and delivering them to the new governor. Our campus voter engagement strategy played a role in helping spawn the largest turnout from young Virginians in a gubernatorial election in recent history. In the spring, our coordinated advocacy resulted in over hundred college students lobbying our state officials and ushered in policies protecting student privacy, strengthening student loan protections, and increasing access to cheaper textbooks. These accomplishments are part of the legacy of thousands of Virginia21 students -- all of whom have undergone leadership development training within our unique program.
So, are you a current college student who wants to build political power for your generation? Do you want to learn how to affect and craft policy, lobby elected officials, organize your campus, and design a strategic communications plan? If the answer is yes, then here are three ways Virginia21’s Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) will empower you to become an effective advocate.
1. You’ll get pro-tips from real pros.
SLI connects college students with top experts in a variety of fields. Our list of past presenters includes top lobbyists from prestigious firms, communication consultants who work on national and international campaigns, organizers who’ve activated thousands of citizens, and elected officials who know how to govern. All presenters have a proven track record of success, and their insight into the political world can’t be rivaled.
2. We provide trainings, not lectures.
There’s value from learning in a classroom, but SLI was created to take learning to the next level. SLI presenters not only share concrete examples of working in the political realm, but they include some type of practice, simulation, or action-oriented planning. This model transforms knowledge into skills that can be used throughout your academic and professional careers.
3. The project-based learning curriculum steers Virginia21’s advocacy work.
Virginia21 is run, first and foremost, by young people because we know an engaged generation is capable of creating a brighter future for everyone. That’s why SLI features an advocacy project that asks groups to solve a real issue facing young people by using the knowledge they gained throughout the week. The results of these projects aren’t just for practice. Each year, the staff uses one or more of the project proposals as the basis for an advocacy campaign. In fact, many of the major initiatives listed on our accomplishments page stem directly from SLI projects including Save our Slice, Fuel the Future, and #The30Percent.
So what are you waiting for?
Virginia needs leaders to push our elected officials to take action on issues that matter to us-- college affordability, campus safety, and economic opportunity for the young and future workforce just to name a few. We believe that every young Virginian can play a role in making this happen, and the Summer Leadership Institute is the best way to be part of a lasting legacy of fighting for a better future for our generation.
We are accepting applications for this unique opportunity until May 25th. We hope you’ll join us.