Last year, we published a post introducing ourselves, fittingly titled We Are Roosevelt @ MSU. That piece focused on our philosophy as an organization, and we still think it’s worth a read. However, we wanted to take some time at the beginning of this year to focus on what exactly Roosevelt @ MSU does. What we do can be summed up in a single sentence: empowering progressive young people to research, write, and advocate for public policy solutions. Breaking down exactly what that means takes a little longer.
A significant component of what we do at Roosevelt is researching policy, from looking into the impact no-fault absentee voting policy has on voter fraud for a 10 Ideas piece to investigating our university’s investment in interest rate swaps. This research doesn’t necessarily involve formal experiments and the creation of large data sets; instead, it often involves students looking at data that has escaped the attention of “professionals” and working to make change based on what they find. Some of our chapter’s most successful research–on financialization–came from publicly available records that we were the first to compile and analyze.
Another major component of our work at Roosevelt is writing, both to summarize and present research and to advocate for policy we believe in. Every year we submit pieces to the national network’s 10 Ideas journal, and have been published eight times in the last two years. Last year we had three pieces published, on topics ranging from providing T visas for victims of human trafficking to peace education for high school students to capping college athletic subsidies.
We also publish student writing on our blog, a platform we use for a variety of pieces that deal with policy. We’ve published long-form student writing on topics ranging from refugee issues to the legal status of the war against the Islamic State. We’ve published student reactions to current events like renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula and the GOP’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We’ve also published student opinions on broader policy issues, from the efficacy of means testing to the way neoliberal economic policies have effected the way we discuss immigration.
The final–and perhaps most important–component of our work at Roosevelt is advocacy. We take a lot of pride in the work we do to put our policy ideas into action, from writing op-eds to meeting with stakeholders for lobbying meetings. For the last two years, members from Roosevelt @ MSU and Roosevelt @ U of M have traveled to the state capital to lobby for issues ranging from no-fault absentee voting to increasing funding for lead testing in school. This sort of advocacy work is critical to our broader mission of empowering young people to make meaningful changes in their communities using progressive public policy.
If any of this work sounds like something you’d be interested in, we would encourage you to reach out to us, or, better yet, come to our first meeting next Thursday, September 7th in 334b Case Hall. We hope to see you there!