The Duck of Minerva

Think tank for progressive students

25 October 2005

Mother Jones recently had a brief note about the Roosevelt Institution, which is a progressive think tank organized by and for college students:

The Roosevelt Institution takes students’ ideas out of the filing cabinet and places them on the desks of reporters, civil servants, and politicians so that students’ ideas change public policy. One of the ways Roosevelt brings the innovative ideas of brilliant students to an audience capable of influencing public policy is through its national student research journal, the Roosevelt Review, a journal devoted to publishing high quality research, analysis, and policy proposals by graduate and undergraduate students. The Review aims to give policymakers access to underused student intellectual capital and, at the same time, leverage the Roosevelt Institution’s brand to build connections between students and policymakers with common interests.

Thanks to Google, I learned that the commenters on Volokh disparaged it, so maybe it is something to promote.

American University has a chapter in the works, but there’s nothing listed for Georgetown, Penn, or Louisville — host institutions for the Duck bloggers.

The think tank has received some press coverage, most prominently with an article in the LA Times. Here’s what that paper reported about the Roosevelt Institution’s first published work:

The first issue of the Roosevelt Review, available at , includes articles on solar energy, military use of uranium, AIDS and genetic testing. The articles were selected by student editors and policy experts from among 200 submissions. Nine of the contributing authors are pursuing their bachelor’s degrees; several others are in graduate school.

The story says that there are 120 chapters across the country, so there may be some that aren’t linked at the main institutional webpage. Their aspirations are high, funding is low:

Each chapter has student-run policy committees dealing with such issues as economics, education, health, science and technology. Working with a faculty advisor, each committee collects student research for publication, formulates policy ideas and works closely with local community organizations to foster discussion about policy changes.

…The Roosevelt Institution has had a slow start financially, Wilhelmi said. So far it has survived with foundation grants and contributions made through direct-mail requests. Individual chapters have also hosted “grass-roots” house parties to help raise money.

“Funding is never totally sufficient,” Wilhelmi said. “None of us are personally in debt anymore, but we could certainly use a significant amount of more support.”

I’ve already started talking about this with colleagues and plan to mention it to some of our “best and brightest” students.

I wonder if anyone has mentioned this to George Soros?

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