National Campaign

More than 60 student ambassadors from 30 colleges and universities across the country exchanged their opinions on the state of the nation and topics of concern and discussion on their campuses during the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement annual conference Feb. 2-4, 2018. The theme of the event was Facilitating Civil Discourse on Campus.

The program kicked off with a packed Forum where five of our Spring 2018 Resident Fellows shared views on the state of politics, led by former Fellow and Washington Post Senior Correspondent Dan Balz.

Throughout the three-day event, student ambassadors heard from a diverse group of speakers who provided insights into how to foster and expand dialogue and civil discourse on campus. During a 90-minute Town Hall conducted by John Della Volpe IOP Director of Polling, participants shared experiences in discussing a range of issues on campus and beyond and expressed a positive outlook of hope for the future.

The 2018 conference program was designed to catalyze broader student participation in civil political dialogue and engagement on college campuses. Participants identified processes and strategies to support open, diverse and inclusive political conversations.  Here is a list of projects that the schools are working on post conference.  

Find a schedule of conference sessions and speakers here.

“We at the IOP are committed to supporting programs like the National Campaign, which allow students to openly discuss areas of political and social disagreement and develop strategies to expand the scope of civil discourse on campus,” said IOP Acting Director Bill Delahunt.

Background information on this year’s conference topic includes Boston Globe piece on campus politics on a national scale, a CBS excerpt on conflict regarding free speecha helpful guide to preventing hate speech, and free speech resource guide from Tufts University.  Links to the presenters PowerPoint presentations: Rachel Brown and Lori Brewer Collins.  

The IOP’s fall survey also provides some data on millennial attitudes and concerns.  

Since 2003, the IOP-led alliance has held annual conferences to identify collaborative projects, foster engagement in electoral politics, assist students in pursuing careers in public service, and provide a foundation in civic education. Led by a team of Harvard undergraduates, the student representatives to the National Campaign collaborate to achieve concrete goals, such as working with local election offices to improve the voting experience for their campus communities. 

"We are excited to explore this year’s theme – civil discourse – with students from all over the country! The National Campaign Conference is a unique opportunity for diverse perspectives to converge and for students to explore productive and effective methods of dialogue which they can bring back to their respective campuses – a necessary and relevant course of action,” said Eloise Kaehny, Harvard College ’19, National Campaign Committee Chair.

Participating colleges and universities include: Allegheny College, Arizona State University, Colby College, Davidson College, Elon University, Florida International University, Franklin and Marshall College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Howard University, Louisiana State University, Mercer University, Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Saint Anselm College, Simpson College, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Delaware, University of Florida, University of Louisville, University of North Carolina, University of Oklahoma, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Texas, Austin, University of Utah and the University of Virginia.