The Roosevelt Institute at Mount Holyoke College has been named the Best New Chapter of the Year, according to the directors of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a nationwide student public policy think-tank operating on more than 80 campuses across the country. The results were recently announced at the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network’s sixth annual leadership training weekend at the historic Franklin D. Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York.
The Roosevelt Institute engages students in a unique form of progressive activism that empowers young people as leaders and promotes their ideas for change, according to Brittany Finder '12, the communications director for the MHC chapter. Established last fall under the leadership of copresidents Casey Maliskewski '10 and Emily Wazlak '12, the group successfully recruited members and engaged them in blogging, policy writing, and long-term programming.
Throughout the year, the leadership team conducted regular membership meetings, recorded the minutes, and posted them to the chapter Web site. The chapter also held two fireside chats--a Roosevelt Institute tradition--on the topics of affirmative action and environmental policy. In the spring, students hosted two open discussions: one focusing on health care reform and the other on the death penalty.
In winning the national honor, the MHC group demonstrated a commitment to social media, establishing a Facebook page to chronicle current projects and highlight long-term objectives, said Finder. Members made frequent blog posts on the chapter Web site, covering a range of issues from educational reform to agricultural subsidies, showing a breadth of interests and knowledge.
The MHC chapter also worked on local impact projects, including the Holyoke Economic Development Summit. In collaboration with Citizens for the Revitalization and Urban Success of Holyoke (CRUSH), students cohosted the summit, which was a forum for community advocates and Mayor Elaine Pluta FP '95 to discuss and consider challenges and opportunities for economic development in the city of Holyoke.
"In the midst of final exams and senior theses, the Mount Holyoke chapter provided all the logistical support for the event. The team received warm appreciation and wide recognition for their tenacity, vision, and determination to coordinate the summit," said Finder.
The Mount Holyoke chapter surpassed the Boston University chapter of the organization to rank first in the category of Best New Chapter.
According to Tarsi Dunlop, director of operations for the Campus Network, the Mount Holyoke chapter’s participation in both the fall and spring regional events "contributed significantly to the strength and energy of the [Northeast] region." As a result, Mount Holyoke has been selected to host the Campus Network’s Northeast Regional Conference this fall.