Chicago Leaders Class FAQ

By Brenna Conway |

Who is eligible to participate in the Chicago Leaders Class?

The Chicago Leaders Class is available to undergraduate students at any two year or four year college within the greater Chicago region. Since the class involves in-person participation on a weekly basis, students must be able travel within the Chicago region.

Students with a strong interest in policy change and at least one full year remaining on their campus are encouraged to apply. Through the class, students will learn how to build a Roosevelt chapter on their campus while working with students across the city on policy research, writing, and making lasting change.

What does the Chicago Leaders Class program involve?

As a participant, you’ll be part of a small cohort of emerging leaders across several Chicago area universities. The program includes debates and trainings around important local policy topics such as money in politics, climate change, student debt and police accountability. Participants will learn and practice Roosevelt methods for researching and writing public policy, while also working to organize students around an issue of importance on their campus. Additionally, participants can expect site visits with area stakeholders such as local elected officials and  advocacy organizations on topics we follow in the class.  As part of the class, students will actively work to organize students on their campus and form a new Roosevelt chapter to continue the policy work they begin in class.

What is the time commitment for the class?

Total time commitment: 20-25 hrs per month (5-6 hours per week) for 3 months, not including travel time to meetings or events. We will take final exams into account and adjust schedules accordingly

How often does the Class meet?

  • The Chicago Leaders Class will meet 2x per month for approx. 3 hours at a time. (March through May)
  • In addition, there will be 1 on 1 check-ins (about 1 hour each) by phone or in person with Illinois Director Brenna Conway 1-2x per month.
  • There will also be site visits 1-2x per month, approx 2 hrs each, depending on availability of the stakeholders we visit (elected officials, org and movement leaders etc).
  • Additionally, students will be tasked with spending 2-4 hrs per week working on a Roosevelt chapter or issue on their campus.

Where will the class meet?

We are still finalizing the location for the regular meetings of our class. Likely we will have a home-base in or near the loop, but we’ll also travel to site visits and schools within the Chicago area to meet with local policy stakeholders or to visit Roosevelt chapters in the area.

How can I apply for the class?

The application can be found here. Applications are due by 11:59pm on January 15th, 2015. IN addition to submitting your resume, you are required to complete some short essay questions regarding your interest in Roosevelt and local policy. The class size range from 10-20 students.

What happens after the Chicago Leaders Class is finished?

Following the completion of the class, students working towards policy change on their campus will be invited to attend our annual student conference in Hyde Park, New York in August of 2016. The conference, held annually in the first week of August at the FDR Presidential Library brings together over 100 Roosevelt student leaders from 60 chapters across the country. Transportation, housing and most meals are provided for invitees.

Can I get credit for the Chicago Leaders Class?

The Chicago Leaders Class is a new policy and professional development opportunity available only to students in the Chicago area. It is more similar to an honors or discussion course than to an internship. The course is designed to help prepare students who are interested in working in government or public policy, and also to connect emerging leaders from across campuses. We offer many paid internship opportunities to Roosevelters all across the country, and participants in the Leaders Class will also have the opportunity to apply for any of these as they arise. We would be happy to work with students to see if course credit is applicable for their participation within their university.

What is the Roosevelt Institute?

The Roosevelt Institute brings together thousands of thinkers and doers—from a new generation of leaders in every state to Nobel laureate economists—working to redefine the rules that guide our social and economic realities. We rethink and reshape everything from local policy to federal legislation, orienting toward a new economic and political system: one built by many for the good of all. We believe that when the rules work against this vision, it’s our responsibility to recreate them.

The Roosevelt Institute is based out of New York, and has opened it’s first local office here in Chicago. Learn more about our work here.

Are you affiliated with Roosevelt University?

No, we are not affiliated with Roosevelt University. 

Who can I contact with questions about the Chicago Leaders Class and application process?

Email Brenna Conway, Illinois Director,

Brenna Conway is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Roosevelt Institute. She is responsible for growing an Illinois based student network and working to involve students in both writing and enacting policy changes at the state and local level. In 2014 Brenna orchestrated the NextGen Illinois project, which brought together thousands of young people in person and online to create a youth policy agenda for the state of Illinois. Brenna comes from a background in political organizing and advocacy campaigning. Brenna is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison where she studied Spanish and French as well as political science.