Since 2000, The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life has cultivated today’s Texas civic leaders. Through innovative and interactive programs, the Institute champions civic discovery and civil dialogue in young people across the state. The Institute coordinates a variety of educational programs that offer many civic and political opportunities for K–12 students, college students, and young professionals. The Annette Strauss Institute aims to instill the disposition that people should care about their communities, and it also teaches young people how they can make a difference.
You can support the cultivation of Texas’ civic leaders by investing in the Institute’s programs. Your gifts are vital to civic education programs that reach students of all ages. Gift funds are allocated to the program area of greatest need at the discretion of the Institute’s director. Keep reading below for a sampling of the important research-based, time-tested, and fun civic education programs.
About New Politics Forum
New Politics Forum trains young professionals through nonpartisan conferences and deliberative diagoues. Students and young professional develop their civic values, interests, skills, and beliefs through events, such as Campaign Bootcamp and the Texas Civic Ambassadors. During the three-day Campaign Bootcamp, young people learn how to craft a campaign narrative, manage volunteers, fundraise, and conduct opposition research. Participants leave Campaign Bootcamp learning not only how to successfully campaign for a candidates or themselves, but they also learn how to operate in team, problem-solve, and persuasively debate.
About Speak Up! Speak Out!
Roughly 80% of students participating in the 2018-19 program first became involved in their communities through Speak Up! Speak Out!. In Speak Up!, K–12 students collaborate in small teams to identify community problems and work to solve them. Students present their projects to community leaders and governmental officials at the annual State Civics Fair at the State Capitol. Winning teams receive funding for their projects. Past teams have created youth advisory councils to the city council, coordinated culture fairs at their schools, and implemented a grant-funded election workers student program at their school.
TexElects combines arts and civics as high school students compete to creatively motivate people to register and turn out to vote through art. Every presidential and midterm election year, students elect to write a creative piece, create a visual piece, or film an inspirational civic message. The Annette Strauss Institute partners with local and state-wide organizations and nonprofits to broadcast winning students’ work during each election cycle to turn Texans out to vote!
About TX Votes
TX Votes is a nationally-recognized student-led organization that has coordinated the voter registration of over 13,000 people in 2017 and 2018 and furthered nonpartisan civic dialogue on the University of Texas’ campus. TX Votes and its Civic Engagement Alliance have earned the University’s distinction as a voter friendly campus through its voter registration efforts and the numerous voting events it hosts. To directly support TX Votes, please donate to the TX Votes 40 for Forty page.