The Texas Civic Ambassadors Program

A year of service, education, and leadership supporting civic life in Texas.

The Texas Civic Ambassador (TCA) program seeks to identify and cultivate student leaders around the state who will work to combat apathy and encourage more young people to get involved in civic life.

Texas Civic Ambassadors will receive:

  • Educational opportunities that will deepen their understanding of our democracy and the current state of civic life.
  • Training on tools and political skills required for a successful career in politics, civic engagement and community leadership.
  • Guidance for developing effective communication and outreach plans and programs; hosting nonpartisan/ bipartisan dialogues and events; research; writing; presentations; and innovative methods for audience engagement.

A bipartisan group of students from college campuses across the State will serve as Texas Civic Ambassadors for one full academic year and must apply via our online application during the spring semester before their intended year of service.


About the Texas Civic Ambassador Outreach Project:

Texas Civic Ambassadors will be expected to conduct nonpartisan/bipartisan educational outreach activities on their campus or in their community. TCAs will be provided the most up-to-date information about the current state of civic life and will become leaders and innovators in driving the way we share information and engage every-day citizens in the vital work of self-governance.

At the Leadership Summit, TCAs will build on what they learn and begin developing ideas and drafting plans alongside of program staff, mentors, and their fellow cohort. Plans can use a variety of different formats to reach their goal including in-person convenings, community / campus presentations, online / social media engagement, news and information sharing platforms, tabling, networking, and other creative methods. TCAs will be required to identify a faculty or staff mentor on their campus who will help support and guide their on campus / community activities.


Program Benefits:


The Texas Civic Ambassadors Leadership Summit.

An exclusive opportunity to attend the TCA kick-off event and training. Participants will learn from experts and researchers in the fields of leadership development, politics, community engagement, communication, and civic life.

The TCA Leadership Summit will be held at The University of Texas at Austin in the fall of their year of service. TCAs are required to attend all 3 days. Overnight accommodations and all meals while attending will be covered by the program. Transportation to and from the Summit will not be provided. 

Schedule overview (subject to change):

  • Friday - 1:30 pm - 7:30  pm + networking kick-off party
  • Saturday - 8:30 am - 8:00 pm + "office hours" until 10:00 pm
  • Sunday - 8:30 am - 3:30 pm

Topics will cover:

  • The current state of civic life and what can be done to increase engagement.
  • Exploration into your leadership style is and how you can motivate others to get involved.
  • The fundamentals of effective communication, presentation skills, and building messages for key audiences.
  • The power of your personal brand, getting your foot in the door, and marketing yourself as a civic leader.
  • The role citizen journalism, social media, and innovation can play in informing citizens.
  • Program and outreach planning, best practices for hosting bipartisan dialogues, and evaluating impact. 

The Summit will also include an interactive component where students will work toward developing their outreach plans alongside of program staff, mentors, and their fellow cohort. Students will present their ideas on Sunday and will receive feedback with the goal of helping to improve their strategy and methods.


Leadership / Career Development Opportunities.

Texas Civic Ambassadors will receive a personalized leadership assessment at our Leadership Summit. They will also have opportunities to attend over 50+ hours professional development training over the year free of charge. (See conferences, events, and training opportunities below to learn more.)


Practice in communication, public engagement, citizen journalism, and educational outreach.

Self-directed opportunities to build skills in political communication, advocacy, dialogue across difference and civic engagement will be developed through the creation and execution of the TCA educational outreach project. Outreach plans will share information about the current state of civic life with college-aged students and members of their community. Emphasis will be on what we, as citizens, can do to improve it. Educational outreach activities require innovative thinking in ways to reach disengaged audiences. Various platforms and methods for public engagement will be selected by TCAs.


Access to Conferences, Events, and Trainings.

TCAs will be offered free admission to all New Politics Forum (NPF) events during their year of service, including our annual Campaign Bootcamp and Careers in Politics Conference. NPF activities are unique in that they are all nonpartisan, youth-focused, and taught by active political professionals. 

TCAs will be invited to Annette Strauss Institute events including our annual fundraising dinner, Great Conversations as a VIP guest, the Texas Conference on Civic Life, Speak Up! Speak Out! Civics Fairs, and special guest lectures.

TCAs will also receive free admission to the Texas Tribune Festival as an NPF social media ambassador.


Mentorship.

Texas Civic Ambassadors will be supported by the strong network of Annette Strauss Institute researchers, political professionals, advisory council members, and program staff.  Additionally, TCAs will be asked to identify a faculty or staff member on their campus who will serve as their mentor throughout their year of service to help advise on plans for outreach activities and events on their campus.


Event Planning & Program Skills.

TCAs will plan and host bipartisan dialogues on their campus that continue the conversation about civic life and issues confronting our democracy. Institute staff will be available to help guide you through your project plans and activities as an Ambassador. We'll help you brainstorm and troubleshoot -- and even possibly offer event support from our network. 

Additionally, interested TCAs will be invited to provide program ideas and insight into New Politics Forum conferences and events. 


Recognition and Acknowledgement.

A letter will be sent to your University’s President, the Mayor of your current city of residence, and select public and elected officials acknowledging and notifying them that you have been selected as a Texas Civic Ambassador. TCAs will be featured on the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life’s (ASI) website, emails, social media, reports to funders, and in our annual report.

Additionally, an official certificate of recognition for your service will be presented to all TCAs who complete all of the program requirements. Fantastic things to add to your resume!