The Policy Program

The Policy Program is an undergraduate-run think tank that allows students the opportunity to develop their skills in policy research and writing while working to effect real-world change. Research from the Policy Program has helped develop new legislation, build new community programs, and analyze pressing issues facing communities and states across the country. In the past, we have worked with commissioners such as:

Federal Commissioners

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

State Commissioners

  • California Department of Public Health
  • Massachusetts Department of Education
  • Pennsylvania Secretary of Human Services
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Ohio Secretary of State

International Commissioners

  • The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
  • The Peace Corps

Students meet weekly with their research teams to discuss their work, learn about best practices in policy writing, and hear from distinguished guest speakers. At the end of the semester, students have the opportunity to present their work to their commissioner and other community stakeholders. You do not need to have policy research experience to join the Policy Program—our goal is to spark interest in public policy and for every student to learn something new!

Contacts:

Thomas Tait, thomastait@college.harvard.edu 

Sophia Scott, sophiascott@college.harvard.edu 

 

Sunny Days for the IOP Policy Program
The Technology and Innovation Policy group worked with Massachusetts State Senator Julian Cyr to evaluate the current landscape of solar energy installations in Senator Cyr's district (Cape Cod and islands) and offer recommendations for working with Historic Committees that have opposed the expansion of solar in his district.
Autonomous Vehicles & Home Care: The 2017 Policy Program
Each semester, IOP undergraduate students join the Policy Program to combine finding policy solutions to issues they are passionate about and biulding skills around researching, writing and delivering policy recommendations to elected officials.

Collaborations with the Institute of Politics Policy Program


For the last four years, the Institute's Policy Program has collaborated with the Massachusetts State Senate Legislative Education Office, the United Nations, and various non-profit organizations to connect undergraduates with policymakers and activists seeking research assistance on current or future policy issues. Our research has been used in several State House bills and in legislation for the United States Congress. Students have assisted with policy research on a diverse range of topics, from planetary protection to optimizing green energy use in townships. Recently, students researched the following additional topics:

  • Reforming life sentences with parole
  • Patent trolling in Massachusetts
  • Sexual assault on college campuses
  • Restructuring the Department of Conservation and Recreation 
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Autonomous vehicle legislation 
  • Affordability and impact of solar energy installations
     

Policy Briefs Written by Undergraduate Student Policy Program