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October 12, 2005

Welcome Roosevelt Institution
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

In the "promising developments" department, a web welcome to the Roosevelt Institution, billing itself as "the nation's first student think tank" [progressive].

They got some nice opening publicity from the LA Times, and I'll quote a little of their mission statement because it's so nicely done:

We can offer our generation's perspective on the future of social security, on the job market, on education and job training. We can offer our campuses' academic strengths, for example in biotechnology and internet research. We can offer personal insights -- our perspective on progressive religious perspectives or what it means to be a feminist is just as valid as any other. On local issues, provide analysis that might otherwise be absent. And on any issue of national debate we can offer research and fact-checking skills equivalent to the research assistants and interns who would be putting together briefings on the hill or for reporters.

We offer our collective perspective as young people, the academic strengths of our campuses, our own personal insights, our local grounding, and our research skills. Together, these advantages make our perspective valuable on almost anything.

We have not had trouble gaining access to grown-ups. Policymakers, experts, and politicians have without exception been excited about our project and eager to connect with us. They are eager to have young people involved, excited about our ideas, and enthusiastic to pass on their expertise and passion to a new generation.

But even if nobody listens, this project will still be worthwhile.

Our generation has been depoliticized. We volunteer more than any previous generation, we perform community service, we stay informed about current events. But we haven't typically been involved in the policy process. We'll tutor in failing schools, but we won't head to state capitols to lobby to get those schools back on track. We'll clean beaches, but we won't campaign for politicians who will tighten pollution standards. We'll organize blood drives, but we won't propose new healtcare legislation. We protest, but we don't vote.

Go check 'em out.


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I'll wait to see them actually show results, thanks.

Til then, my money is going to figure they'll be ignored, same as the young have always been.

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