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Introduction to Policy

What does it mean to do policy work with Roosevelt?


Roosevelt is a Network designed to bring together thinkers and doers to write and implement policy at the campus, local, and state levels. Following our crowd-sourced survey on issue areas through Blueprint 2016-17, we’re taking on a greater focus on the issue areas that emerged as top priority for Roosevelters: Human Rights, Education, Economy, and Democratic Access. Roosevelt seeks real change through rewriting the rules of the game. Roosevelt believes in the power of policy, rather than programmatic, change, because of the wide-scale and long-term sustainability that policy offers.

Our Loft database offers extensive resources on how to move through each stage of the ideas organizing process. Any Roosevelter seeking to work on policy change should consult their policy coordinator and Loft resources as a first resource.

Note: Any Roosevelter interested in pursuing policy change, should immediately request a log in to Loft from a member of National Leadership. A Loft log in will ensure access to all files on Loft.

After you have completed a training, please fill out this survey.

 Contact Information

Policy Coordinators:

Democratic Access: Aden Muhammad-

Human Rights: Clara Harter-

Education: Manon Steel-

Economy: Austin Shirley-

Energy & Environment: Matt Walsh -

Healthcare: Aditya Krishnaswamy -

National Staff- Jade Wilenchik-

Learn more about Roosevelt's seven issues areas here: Education, Economy, Human Rights, Democratic Access, Health Care, Energy & Environment, and Foreign Policy

Scales of Policy Change

Campus: Rethinking Communities projects, in particular, targeted at using the vast resources of your university toward fighting economic inequality in your community have experienced great success in the past. Such campus level projects usually take the form of bills or legislation through student government or directly through the administration at your school. As you embark on your policy change journey, identifying the capacity of your school is a great way to start.

Local: The local level offers the widest range of possibilities for policy change coupled with a high opportunity for success. You can work with local governmental departments like your local Housing and Urban Development Authority, seek endorsements for your policy change through neighborhood councils, set up a pilot for your project at the local level, and look to pass progressive legislation around your issue paving the way for state action in the future.

State: State level policy projects enjoy the maximum success when they are able to build a strong and active coalition with multiple chapters across the state, strong partner organizations, and networks of local elected officials to support your work. In the absence of a strong chapter and community coalition, it may be difficult to implement change at this level.

Ideas Organizing: A Framework for Policy Change: 

Our framework for tracking and creating policy change:

•       Identify a problem- LISTEN

Roosevelt trainings at this step: ‘Problem Identification

Timeline: August- September

Example Steps

•       Conduct or complete a Thinks2040 Training

•       Speak with a member of your community

•       Read Background sources

•       Expand understanding of policy

•       Build agency- ENGAGE

Roosevelt trainings at this step: ‘Problem Identification’, ‘Building your coalition’, ‘Mapping your institution

Timeline: August- September

Example Steps:

•       Reach out to a policy coordinator to signal your interest

•       Hold a small group discussion on your issue with chapter members

•       Create a map of the local political landscape– partners, allies, and opponents

•       Speak with community groups and partner organizations working in your issue area to understand their work

•       Start to take notes in the form of a literature review on your issue

  • Researching ordinances/bills/resolutions in your area

Design a policy- WRITE

Roosevelt trainings at this step: ‘Research’, ‘Writing for 10 Ideas

Timeline: August- September- December

Example Steps:

•       Submit a 10 ideas piece

•       Share your policy idea with fellow chapter members, Your Policy coordinator and seek co-authors

•       Complete a map of your political landscape map listing supporters, allies, targets, & opponents

•       Hold a Communication and Outreach training with a Roosevelt Communications Coordinator

•       Hold a Lobbying and Exerting power training with a Policy Coordinator

•       Start to build out a list of strategies and tactics for influencing the media and elected officials 

Influence a decision maker- ACT

Roosevelt trainings at this step: 'Mapping the Institution', Planning for Policy Change’, ‘Building your coalition’, ‘Communications and Outreach’,  ‘Lobbying’, 'FundRaising'

Timeline: December- April (note- all timelines are encouraged, not mandatory)

Example Steps:

•       Get a Coalition partner signed on to your policy idea and find ways to collaborate

•       Get your student government or neighborhood council or local city council to endorse your policy idea

•       Have a sit-down meeting with or lobby a decision maker

•       Write an Op-ed, an Letter to the Editor, host an online petition or social media campaign

•       Host an event, demonstration or organizing activity on your campus or in your community;

Solve Problem- SUCCEED

Roosevelt trainings at this step: ‘Communications and Outreach’,  ‘Lobbying’, 'FundRaising'

Timeline: March- May (note- all timelines are encouraged, not mandatory)

Small Step: Impact Points- Small scale victories that push toward success like: 

•       Hosting an event/demonstration/rally/panel

•       Drafting an Op-ed in a local/state/campus paper

•       Meeting with an elected official or legislative aide on your idea

•       Presentation of your idea at a conference/Board of Trustee meeting/ stakeholder meeting/town hall/public hearing

•       Introduction of a bill with your idea at campus, local or state levels

Note: Some of the small steps above are listed as part of the previous section. They have been added here to remind all policy change projects that these are the actions you should be telling Roosevelt National leadership and National Staff about to celebrate your successes with you. 

Medium Step: Impact Pilot: Confirming funding and implementation for a test or pilot version of your idea.

Example: The City of Atlanta agrees to your idea to pilot set of trainings for new building developers to move toward energy efficiency.

Big Step: Impact Shift: Your policy idea is passed by the relevant organization and moved toward implementation.

Example: The City of Atlanta adopts a bill making LED light bulbs or other energy efficiency measures mandatory for all new building developers.

Note: For all of National Leadership, the steps listed under Solve problem are ones to be tracked via Trello and through the relevant Policy coordinator.