The Roosevelt Network trains, develops, and supports emerging progressive policymakers, researchers, and advocates across the US, focusing on communities historically denied political power. We believe that young people can affect change now, locally. To fulfill our mission of building true public power, our students lead successful policy campaigns that defend or invest in public goods at the campus, local, and state levels. Over the last few years, they have lowered the cost of campus health care, helped restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated Floridians, organized to stop the privatization of campus worker jobs in Tennessee, and much more.
We act locally, but think big. We want to pass local policy now, and we want those reforms to be scalable. We want to develop local leaders now, and we want to ensure the long-term influence of our people to help fulfill the ideals of American democracy. Our vision is that Roosevelters will hold long-term decision-making power in their communities, and we leverage the power of our alumni network—which includes public officials, lawyers, teachers, nonprofit executives, and researchers—to expand opportunities for the next generation of policy leaders.
We believe who writes the rules matters. Shifting decision-making power to communities historically denied political influence and representation in American democracy builds true public power. As a result, government can act as a force for the public good in ways it has been unable or unwilling to.
If we train, develop, and support emerging progressive policymakers, researchers, and advocates across the US, focusing on communities historically denied political power, then we can change who writes the rules and help build true public power.
Our Student Programming – Our Theory of Change in Practice
Network programming comprises three categories: training opportunities, leadership opportunities, and advanced policy opportunities. Students interact with these three buckets in nonlinear ways, and sometimes pursue multiple opportunities simultaneously. There is no one way to advance through our opportunities and emerge a successful policy leader; the categories form an involvement matrix rather than an opportunities ladder.
These programs explicitly seek to develop student policy and leadership skills. Although we are not a leadership development organization, we recognize there are skills that students must have to be successful researchers, writers, and activists. The programs and opportunities below are designed to help our students acquire them:
- The Forge Fellowship
- Public Goods Incubator
- Financialization Incubator
- Hyde Park (conference)
- Midyear Retreat (conference)
These opportunities provide leadership and organizing experiences that directly impact the network’s success. The authority and responsibility that come with these positions ensure that the network remains student-driven.
Advanced Policy Opportunities
These opportunities are for our most advanced students and are some of the most important for demonstrating the credibility and success of the network’s model—and for reinforcing the importance and significance of young policymakers more broadly. They are designed for students who have completed Roosevelt’s core trainings and/or have participated in other opportunities with us, and for this reason, those are the students who make the most out of these programs.
- Emerging Fellowship
- Summer Fellowship
- Financialization of Higher Education research (at the Case Study level)
- Policy Challenges
- 10 Ideas
Work supported through these opportunities has led to some of the biggest network successes, including the passage of Amendment 4 in Florida and the lowered cost of George Washington University’s student health care.
Alumni are critical to the success of our network. The key long-term goal for the network is to pipeline the leaders we develop into positions of decision-making power within institutions and organizations that shape the social and economic realities for communities across the country. And this is why alumni are crucial to our success; they are the connective tissue that place Roosevelters in key political and policy jobs.
When we think about alumni engagement, our focus is not on securing small, short-term payoffs, but strategically collaborating on building a more powerful network. We seek to leverage the power of our alumni to support students and expand opportunities for the next generation of policy leaders. We seek to make a lasting impact not only in individual communities, but in the foundations of the progressive movement and our democracy. As a network that is over 15 years old, we have alumni across the world who are experts in their fields: political leaders, policymakers, organizers and activists, and elected officials. As we continue to diversify the student leaders in our network, it becomes increasingly important to leverage the power of our alumni to help open doors into the broader progressive ecosystem for those students. From participating in our programs and leadership opportunities, students develop skills, acquire experience, and receive specific training that we can vouch for in a pragmatic, programmatic, and systematic way.
Working together, alumni have the power to utilize our positions to build a different progressive movement—one that is more inclusive, one that is bottom-up and transformative, and one that changes how rules get written by building a structure that changes who can write them.
Supporting Student Programming
Remote Alumni Programming