About the New Politics Forum

While there are many political education programs designed for seasoned professionals or partisans, the New Politics Forum remains unique. Established in 2003 at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, the New Politics Forum is the only program of its kind in Texas offering conferences, trainings, and events that are: (1) strictly nonpartisan(2) primarily youth-focused; and (3) taught by active political professionals.

The New Politics Forum offers:

  • hands-on skill development that combines job relevance with cutting-edge academic research;

  • networking and mentorship opportunities for students and alumni;

  • rotating topics appropriate to the political environment and changes in new media;

  • conferences and trainings that incorporate a more critical approach focusing on ethics, political values, and culture; and

  • a stepping stone to careers in politics and life-long, sustained civic engagement.

The New Politics Forum is supported in part by a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation

 

Our Program Values

CREATE A TEXAS FOCUS

Most political training programs emphasize national rather than local politics. The New Politics Forum reverses these priorities by focusing on the dynamic political climate of Texas.

WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE

Most political programs are designed for mature professionals rather than young citizens. The New Politics Forum program offers knowledge and skills that help prepare the next generation for their role as active citizens, stewards of self-governance, and for immediate entry into campaign and political work, thus infusing new talent and vitality into the political process.

OFFER A PRACTICAL EDUCATION

The New Politics Forum was created to offer college-aged participants an opportunity to learn about politics from active political professionals. Students learn from the practical experience of others while also gaining a strong foundation in the technological, philosophical, and ethical components of civic life, political engagement, and campaigns.

DEVELOP CIVIC LEADERS

There are many ways that citizens can be involved in their communities. The opportunity in self-governance is that we all can find a way to contribute to the democratic process. The New Politics Forum helps the next generation connect to their civic values, interests, skills, and beliefs – the foundation of sustained engagement. Our events and opportunities work to jumpstart the process, expand professional networks, and help to connect participants with other engaged peers and active political professionals across the partisan spectrum.

 

Research

Every year, the New Politics Forum utilizes independent researches to conduct a major program evaluation that examines the effects of attending NPF events on participants' political attitudes, skills, and involvement. These studies have consistently found that NPF enhances political understanding, promotes political interest and motivation, and develops general political skills in young people. Highlights from our findings illustrated that:

87% of participants reported that the New Politics Forum helped them want to act to improve civic and political life
86% of participants said that NPF increased their interest in wanting to be politically informed
80% of participants said that NPF was more beneficial at providing networking than college classes

Results indicate that participants are highly optimistic about young people’s role in politics after attending NPF programs. When asked to report their agreement with statements such as "young people have an important role to play in politics" and "young people are apathetic toward politics," participants reported higher agreement after the program than before the program. In addition, after attending NPF programs, participants were more likely to report that they would participate in each of these five political activities in the future.

Pre- and Post-Program Political Involvement Pre-Program Post-Program
Contact or visit a public official -any level of government- to ask for assistance or to express your opinion 65% 75%
Work with a political group or volunteer for a campaign 67% 83%
Work as a canvasser going door to door for a political candidate or cause 34% 58%
Be an active member of one or more groups or organizations 56% 70%
 
These findings tell us that we are making an impact in the lives of New Politics Forum participants: by exposing them to the inner workings of politics and campaigns; by offering practical skills to develop themselves professionally; and, by showing them the possibilities that could come from their engagement.   
 

TAYLOR FOODY
Program Coordinator
Taylor joins the Annette Strauss Institute as the New Politics Forum (NPF) Program Coordinator. She helps oversee NPF's digital platforms and coordinate events to bolster civic engagement amongst college-aged youth. While studying Government at the University of Texas at Austin, Taylor was awarded two Department of Education fellowships to India, where she studied Hindi and became familiar with the politics of the world's largest democracy. She has previously interned with Project Vote Smart as a Legislative Research Intern, so she is excited to return to the Strauss family!

Contact: Taylor.Foody@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-2135      Twitter: @NewPolitixForum

 

 

BIANCA SOLIS
Outreach Program Coordinator

Bianca Solis is the new Outreach Program Coordinator for New Politics Forum. She previously worked as a fundraising associate at Norma Denham & Associates, a full- service political consulting firm. She assisted political candidates in State, County, and City races in meeting their campaign fundraising goals by coordinating various fundraising events and growing their donor base. Prior to her active participation in local politics, she was an Assistant Program Manager for Student Services at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. There was she given the opportunity to work with students from across the country and was responsible for the recruitment and promotion of a national internship program and scholarship opportunities. She also assisted in the coordination of local professional development events, regional STEM Summits and an annual higher education conference. Bianca received her B.A in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.