Alison Cantor’s ENACT Student Delegate Reflection
As a senior at Brandeis University, being an ENACT delegate has been an eye-opening experience that has helped me learn more about how to be a leader that can support other students interested in the arena of state policy.
I started out as a student taking an ENACT class called Advocacy for Policy Change at Brandeis University in spring 2021. Even while taking this class online during the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciated the approach the class took toward teaching students about the legislative process of how bills turn into law. I found it interesting to research the issue of menstrual equity for the I AM Bill, as well as learning about the issues that other students from the class were researching for the bills they were advocating for that semester. This allowed me to see how policy is intertwined to other academic disciplines such as sociology, politics, public health etc.
I knew I wanted to continue being part of the ENACT network after I finished taking the Advocacy for Policy Change class in spring 2021. I felt there would be value in taking a leadership role in the ENACT network. As a student, I thought that policy was a field I wanted to learn more about from other ENACT alumni and current students.
As an ENACT delegate, I was able to remotely visit ENACT college classes in states throughout the country. During these visits, I was able to teach other students about the ENACT network alongside my co-delegate Elaina Pevide and David Weinstein, assistant director of ENACT. It was eye-opening to hear how the issues the bills in other states were related to and how they differed based on the region and the politics in that area. I also enjoyed being part of the ENACT Networking Nights where students would get to hear from ENACT alumni who are now working in the policy world and other career paths.
One of my favorite moments of being an ENACT student delegate was when I was partaking in a virtual class visit with a college in Arizona. The students in the class were explaining the issues their bills were about. The political views expressed through the bills that were being putting in the Arizona state legislature contrasted with the politics I grew up with in Connecticut and as a college student in Massachusetts. This experience demonstrated the importance of connecting with other people in the policy world in other states.
While most ENACT classes focus on state policy, the ENACT network as a whole can be used as a community for students to come together to learn from one another how the differing politics in each state then influence what can happen on the federal level.
After being a student in ENACT and a delegate, I deeply believe that ENACT and the involvement in civic engagement it promotes is a valuable tool for students to learn before they graduate from college and continue to contribute to their communities. I look forward to seeing the ENACT network continue to grow and reach more and more students who will then go on to be leaders within politics and in other fields.