News and Updates

2023-24

photo of voting messages chalked on Brandeis walkway
ENACT Your Vote Day of Action

April 4, 2024

Join the ENACT Your Vote Day of Action on Thursday April 4th! Volunteers will be tabling from noon until 2:30 pm at multiple locations on campus to help peoiple sign up for voting and civic engagement reminders with ENACT Your Vote and to register and make a plan to vote if eligible. Come get snacks and ENACT Your Vote and VoteDeis swag – and join ENACT Your Vote to earn points for Brandeis prizes!

Sponsored by ENACT Your Vote, the VoteDeis Campus Coalition, and the Community Engagement Ambassador Program.

Join Brandeis ENACT Your Vote to earn points!

flyer for Period Product Packaging event
Period Product Packaging & Menstrual Advocacy Day

April 2, 2024

Join ENACT, MASSNow and Free Period for a Period Product Packaging & Menstrual Equity Advocacy Party Tuesday, April 2nd from 12:00 - 2:00 PM in the Shapiro Campus Center at Brandeis, cosponsored by the Jewish Feminist Association of Brandeis (JFAB). Help package menstrual products for distribution!

Free Period is a non-profit organization that distributes free menstrual products to those in need.

Founded in 1968, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW) is a multi-strategy grassroots feminist organization in the Commonwealth.

Interested in policy advocacy?

The I AM Bill, which would increase access to menstrual products, is currently being considered by the Massachusetts State Legislature. With the support of MassNOW, at this event we will provide advocacy training and an opportunity to reach out to Massachusetts state representatives in support of the bill.

For more information contact Charlotte Powley, Assistant Director of ENACT: CPowley@brandeis.edu

 

Flyer for sexual health awareness event
Sexual Health Awareness and Healthy Youth Act Advocacy

March 19, 2024

Please join us for a sexual health awareness and Healthy Youth Act advocacy event hosted by ENACT and the Boston Public Schools Office of Health and Wellness on March 19th! Write messages to current Boston Public Schools high schoolers with the support of MassNOW. Volunteers will be tabling from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm in the Shapiro Campus Center.

This event will also provide advocacy training and an opportunity to reach out to Massachusetts state representatives regarding the Healthy Youth Act.

For more information contact ENACT Assistant Director Charlotte Powley: CPowley@brandeis.edu

  • Learn more from the CDC about condom accessibility programs.
  • To learn more about the Healthy Youth Act, follow HealthyYouthMA on Instagram.
  • Founded in 1968, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW) is a multi-strategy grassroots feminist organization in the Commonwealth.

Make your Vote Count - a Voting Rights Discussion

January 18, 2024

Flyer for Make Your Vote count event 1-18-2024"Make Your Vote Count! A Voting Rights Discussion" was led by policy experts from Common Cause, MassVote, and Brandeis: Prof. Zachary Albert of the Brandeis University Politics Department; Marisol Santiago, Policy and Organizing Director for MassVOTE; and Aaron Scherb, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs for Common Cause.

This event was funded by the ENACT Educate & Advocate Grant and the Brenda Meehan Social Justice in Action Grant, and was cosponsored by ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation, the VoteDeis Campus Coalition, the Brandeis University Student Union, Brandeis Democrats, and Brandeis University Young Americans for Liberty.

View a video of the conversation and read more about the event here

Team Modern Recycling meets around a table
National ENACT Course Spotlight: “Urban Public Policy” at Seattle University, Washington State

December 1, 2023

“Most of my students come to the university with deep passions, idealism, creativity, and brilliance. Yet they are overwhelmed by the immensity of the societal challenges we face. This can easily lead to stagnation and cynicism at this crucial juncture in their education. What they often need – and this course facilitates – is process-based knowledge and a safe place to develop complex perspectives towards change.

‘Urban Public Policy,’ adapting the ENACT model, was built around the idea that we can intervene at this beautiful moment to support students to build skills, reflective processes, and a sense of solidarity to both imagine and design what change can look like; and that we can hold both idealism and realism in that crucial work.”

Read more from ENACT Faculty Fellow Zachary Wood about his ENACT course at Seattle University in Washington State.

ENACT Your Vote

November 7, 2023

Join ENACT Your Vote – a non-partisan, web-based initiative to encourage voter participation and civic engagement at universities across the country. Join the Brandeis team: earn points, win prizes and encourage others to take action.

Sign up now and you will get updates and voting reminders automatically! 

Join the VoteDeis Campus Coalition – a nonpartisan group of students, faculty and staff supporting voting and voter registration at Brandeis: VoteDeis

Upcoming Courses at Brandeis

November 1, 2023

In spring 2024 two ENACT courses will be offered at Brandeis:

Advocacy for Policy Change” (LGLS 161b), taught by Melissa Stimell will meet Tuesdays 9:35-12:25.

Advocacy for Policy Change” (LGLS 161b), a Legal Studies course introduced in spring 2010, serves as the academic centerpiece of the ENACT program. Developed and taught by Melissa Stimell, Director of the ENACT, the course combines an investigation of the ethical dilemmas that arise in the process of lawmaking with hands-on advocacy work with entities seeking to reform laws or to propose new ones. The course concludes with “Present and Defend,” a major event for the Brandeis community at which the issues are presented and debated by the students.  Save the Date: the next “Present and Defend” will be held at Brandeis on Tuesday,  April 16th at 9:30 AM.

“Gender, Justice and Legislation” (LGLS 118a), taught by new ENACT faculty member Charlotte Powley, is being offered for the first time.

This class will explore both legislation and the implementation of legislation that impacts historically and presently marginalized gender identities. The course will emphasize these themes specifically through an exploration of menstrual equity. It will examine both the role of legislation itself as well as the advocacy and research that accompanies policy.

 

ENACT Student Delegates: Fostering Leadership and Connection

September 1, 2023

ENACT student delegates are appointed to foster civic engagement on their college campus and facilitate engagement and interaction with ENACT Ambassadors, students and alumni around the country. In addition, student delegates mentor and collaborate with members of campus clubs to help them become more effective citizen advocates at the state legislative level.

The 2023-24 Student Delegates are Brandeis alums Lucca Raabe ‘23 and Vishni Samaraweera, mentored by Elaina Pevide ‘20, who previously served as a Student Delegate. All three are passionate about legislative change, and supporting students around the country to develop their policy advocacy skills. They will be virtually visiting ENACT courses and hosting ENACT network-wide events including the annual ENACT Alumni Networking Night. 

ENACT Educate and Advocate Grant

August 15, 2023

ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation is pleased to announce a grant opportunity for Brandeis University undergraduate students!

ENACT Educate and Advocate Grants will provide up to $1,000 to support for student-organized events that focus on educating our community and advocating for positive change on important current public policy issues, such as healthcare equity, reproductive justice, immigration reform, criminal justice, voting rights, and a multitude of other concerns.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until 9:00 pm ET February 12, 2024.

Full grant criteria and application.

The Justice Brandeis Practitioner-in-Residence Limited Series

July 1, 2023

Hosted by COMPACT and ENACT in Celebration of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life

The newly announced Justice Brandeis Practitioner-in-Residence Limited Series will highlight the knowledge and experience developed by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, and will expose the Brandeis campus community to spheres of activity that have only become more critical to our interconnected world over recent years.

On or around Justice Brandeis’ birthday of November 13, COMPACT and ENACT will host a practitioner whose life and work exemplifies Justice Louis Brandeis’ values of justice and truth as applied to community engagement activities, global or local. During the one-day residency, the visiting practitioner will interact with students, faculty and staff through class visits, workshops, lectures, and other opportunities. Each residency will produce an output which can be shared afterwards, for example a written document, short documentary film, a podcast, or an exhibit.

This limited series will be hosted from 2024-25 through the 2027-28 academic years. The inaugural residency will be in November 2024. Practitioners will receive a $10,000 honorarium. 

Deadline for nominations for the inaugural residency: April 1, 2024

Submit a nomination online here.

 

ENACT Welcomes Faculty from across the US to Brandeis for the Summer 2023 Institute

June 30, 2023

 

In June, ENACT welcomed 22 faculty members from colleges and universities across the United States to Brandeis for the third in-person ENACT Institute. ENACT Faculty Fellows teach their versions of “Advocacy for Policy Change” (LGS 161b,  the ENACT course that forms the basis of the program developed and taught at Brandeis by ENACT Director Melissa Stimell.

Faculty Fellows traveled from as near as Connecticut and Maine to as far as Alaska and Arizona. This third cohort of ENACT Faculty Fellows brings the non-partisan ENACT program across the country.

During the three-day institute new and experienced Faculty Fellows delved deeply into the ENACT model as they developed their courses, and they shared their own expertise. Discussion topics included how to teach an ENACT course in challenging political environments, how to empower students, and how to work with community partners. They were joined by special guests including Massachusetts State Senator Becca Rausch ’01.

See the full list of ENACT Faculty Fellows.

Learn more about ENACT 

June 30, 2023

Student work from the spring 2023 Brandeis ENACT course is available to view or download online. Explore the work of Brandeis ENACT students: 23 citizen advocates for such issues as food insecurity, homelessness, gun control, healthcare access, juvenile justice, and immigrant rights.

2022-23

ENACT Students Meet With Massachusetts Legislative Advocates

January 31, 2023

The students of the Brandeis ENACT course "Advocacy for Policy Change" (LGLS 161b) recently met in January with advocates from nine Massachusetts organizations. Each advocate discussed their issue and the related legislation being proposed at the Massachusetts State House, encouraging ENACT students to focus on the related bill in their ENACT work.

Photo of students, taken by David Weinstein

Pictured: Brandeis ENACT students meet with representatives and leaders from Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Mass NOW (the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women), the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), Health Care For All, the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, Reproductive Equity Now and the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

2021-22

Maia Lefferman '25 connects Brandeis University's VoteDeis Coalition, supported by ENACT, with college-based nonpartisan voter engagement efforts in greater Boston through her representation and work with Boston Votes. During the past few years, Boston Votes has held summits to gather the students, faculty and staff across the coalition to continue strengthening student and campus voter participation efforts.

Professor Myers and his students at the RI State House
ENACT Faculty Fellow Adam Myers and Students visit the Rhode Island State House

April 21, 2022

During the 2022 Spring semester, Professor Adam Myers and students from his Public Analysis and Advocacy course visited Rhode Island State House. Students were able to meet and learn from State Rep. Rebecca Kislak as well as develop a greater understanding of public policy and advocacy at the State level. Professor Myers is a part of the Political Science Department at Providence College.

Transforming the Civic Engagement of Future Generations

February 1, 2022

Ethics Center Director Melissa Stimell, with Brandeis graduate student Kaitie Chakoian and Brandeis alum Charlotte Powley, PhD, surveyed and interviewed alumni from 10 years of the Brandeis ENACT Advocacy for Policy Change course (LGLS 161b), which was developed by Stimell and has been taught by her since 2011.

This course is the model for the Ethics Center's national, 50-state program ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation.

The results from this ENACT Pilot Evaluation Report shows the impact of Ethics Center's ENACT course on alumni civic engagement and career trajectories.

Among the conclusions:

ENACT alumni have high levels of political efficacy. They feel well-qualified to engage with the political process and believe that doing so can have an impact on political outcomes. As a result, they are much more civically engaged than the average U.S. resident. They vote at substantially higher rates and engage in various other ways. ENACT alumni retain the knowledge they learned in the class about the political process, even years after completing it. They also retain skills (speaking and writing clearly, working effectively with others, and evaluating data sources) that have helped them in their professional work — whether that work is policy-related or completely unrelated. In addition to these skills, ENACT alumni credit the networks they developed and the mentorship of ENACT faculty with the trajectories their careers have taken since leaving Brandeis.

Read the full report

January 24, 2022

"Student-to-Student Support: The ENACT Student Delegates," ENACT Student Delegates Elaina Pevide ’20 and Alison Cantor ’22 explore new ways of strengthening ties between ENACT classes.

All IN Voting Challenge Gold Seal

January 1, 2022

Voter Participation Earns Brandeis National Gold Seal Recognition

Seventy percent of Brandeis University students who were eligible voted in the 2020 presidential election, earning the University a Gold Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a national, nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, which strives for a more inclusive democracy. The work to achieve this milestone – an increase of 13 percent from the previous presidential election – was spearheaded by the VoteDeis Campus Coalition, organized by Leigh Swigart and David Weinstein of the Ethics Center in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Students. VoteDeis is a nonpartisan initiative that since 2018 has brought together students, staff and faculty to coordinate, plan, and share information and resources for voter registration and participation.

ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation expands to all 50 states with its first virtual institute.

2020-21

Student walking down sidewalk, which has chalk messages promoting voting.

Photo Credit: Noah Zeitlin/The Justice

October 20, 2020

The Ethics Center's Leigh Swigart and David Weinstein spoke with The Justice about their role in the formation of the VoteDeis coalition, a nonpartisan campus initiative dedicated to ensuring all eligible students are registered and have a plan to vote.

October 6, 2020

The ENACT program at Brandeis University organizes nonpartisan Brandeis campus coalition supporting voter registration and participation.

September 15, 2020

Brandeis students Hangyu Du ’21 and Nicole (Huiyan) Zhang ’21 create enactnetwork.org, a custom digital resource sharing platform for the national ENACT network, with support from a grant from the New York-based Teagle Foundation.

2019-20

ENACT event puts spotlight on young political leadership

March 10, 2020

The forum at Brandeis discussed of the challenges and opportunities for young people in politics, and the politics and political advocacy careers of four young state legislators: Connecticut state Rep. Quentin Phipps, Maine state Rep. Harold "Trey" Stewart III, Massachusetts state Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Massachusetts state Rep. Maria Duaime Robinson.

State senator, city councilor appear at 'Voting and Democracy' panel

March 9, 2020

The panel, "Voting and Democracy in 2020 and Beyond," featured a discussion by Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Massachusetts state Sen. Becca Rausch ’01 on voter engagement, access and suppression.

March 5, 2020

In the seminar "Civic Engagement in Action: Citizens and Policy Advocacy," Associate Professor Stella Rouse at the University of Maryland split students into teams to choose, study and advocate for specific bills now under consideration in Annapolis.

August 28, 2019

ENACT Faculty Fellow Candis Watts Smith was quoted in the New York Times opinion piece "We Aren't Seeing White Support for Trump for What It Is."

August 7, 2019

Three students from the University of Maine will join students from three states to join the national pilot program of the ENACT Labor Network to engage with lawmakers and study policy and advocacy on state and national levels.

2018-19

May 28, 2019

"Brandeisians Leading Through Legislation" looks at the ENACT program and student participation in classes and events.

ENACT awarded multiyear grant to expand to all 50 states

May 17, 2019

"We are delighted to support expansion of the ENACT program," said Andrew Delbanco, president of the Teagle Foundation, whose $350,000 gift will make the expansion possible. "Helping young people to understand and engage in deliberative democracy is an urgent task, and Brandeis is showing a way forward."

April 8, 2019

Massachusetts State Senators Diana DiZoglio and Cindy Friedman and Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott discussed their careers in politics and political advocacy, as well as their perspectives on political engagement — particularly at the state level — in conversation with the students from ENACT courses around the United States.

ENACT joins CivXNow Coalition

April 5, 2019

ENACT has affiliated with the CivXNow coalition, a task foce that aims to prepare youth across America to be active participants of civic life. They support civic education through advocacy and investment. ENACT joins a cohort of over 100 member organizations, academic and research institutions, and other supporters from across the political spectrum.

ENACT awarded Institutional Innovation Grant

March 22, 2019

ENACT has been awarded a Multi-Institutional Innovation Project grant by Bringing Theory to Practice. The award will support ENACT's work engaging undergraduates across the Unites States directly in the process of state legislative change.

Students discuss roles of legislative committees with Massachusetts officials

February 25, 2019

ENACT students from Brandeis and the University of Louisville participated in a conversation with Massachusetts state Sen. and Senate Pro Tempore Will Brownsberger (D-Suffolk/Middlesex) regarding the role of committees in the legislative process. The students in Kentucky joined the class, which took place at Brandeis live via Zoom.

Brandeis ENACT students meet with legislators at State House

February 13, 2019

Students discussed the bills they are working on this semester, gained insight into where these bills stand in the legislative process and discussed how they might help move the bills forward.

November 27, 2018

In a recent Urban Affairs Review article, Mead discussed his graduate-level policy course at Cleveland State University, which requires students to lobby on a public-policy issue, and recognizes ENACT as a similar opportunity for undergraduate students.

jacket of "Black Politics in Transition"
Faculty Fellow Candis Watts Smith co-edits new book

September 12, 2018

ENACT congratulates Smith, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina, and co-editor Christina M. Greer of Fordham University on the publication of "Black Politics in Transition: Immigration, Suburbanization and Gentrification" (Routledge).

jacket of "The Politics of Millennials"
Faculty Fellow Stella Rouse co-edits new book

August 9, 2018

ENACT congratulates Rouse, an associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, and co-editor Ashley D. Ross of Texas A&M University on the publication of "The Politics of Millennials: Political Beliefs and Policy Preferences of America's Most Diverse Generation" (University of Michigan Press).

Female student, seated at table, speaks with her adviser

July 24, 2018

Sage Rosenthal ’19 reflects on how ENACT prepared her for a Capitol Hill congressional internship.

July 16, 2018

Myeisha Boyd, Marian Gardner, Mark Hickey and Miranda Robert found a lot to like about their year as ENACT student delegates.

2017-2018

ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation is happy to announce the second cohort of ENACT Faculty Fellows. The newest 13 faculty fellows hail from colleges and universities in or near the state capitals of Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

This cohort of fellows joins a thriving national network of 16 faculty fellows across the United States who are teaching new courses or enhancing existing courses that engage students in hands-on study and work related to state-level legislation. Fellows will advance this work together, as all 29 fellows learn from one another's pedagogy and sharing in each other's successes.

photo of Gail Miller

Gail Miller reflects on her experiences in Faculty Fellow Kathleen Cole's ENACT course in spring 2017.

"I had a rather limited understanding of politics and democratic institutions when I enrolled in the Advocacy for Policy Change course in spring 2017; and the extent of my political participation was voting every few years. Before taking this class, I was unaware that there are many other ways to communicate my preferences to elected officials. I believed if an election did not turn out the way I hoped, I was left to hope someone 'better' got elected next time.

"Since taking Advocacy for Policy Change, I have a much better understanding of how my state legislature functions, who the representatives are, how to access information about legislation important to me, and how to effectively communicate my preferences to the appropriate political actors. I also learned how to find local advocacy groups working on the issues I am interested in, which enabled me to build meaningful relationships with like-minded people, furthered my education on how to be an involved citizen, and further amplified my political voice."

In August 2017, more than 5,000 state legislators, legislative staff, government officials, business representatives, educators and others interested in public policy from across the United States and abroad gathered in Boston for the annual Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. And ENACT was there. ENACT representatives met with legislators from states that currently host ENACT courses, as well as with others who are interested in supporting the ENACT model of engaging young people in state-level legislative change based on a shared commitment to knowledge, cooperation, justice and integrity.

"ENACT offers the promise of inspiring and supporting students across the nation to become engaged citizens, even as they inform and empower their own legislatures," said NCSL Executive Director William T. Pound in an endorsement letter.