2018-19 Student Delegate
Sage Rosenthal ’19
Sage Rosenthal is a senior at Brandeis, where she is studying Health: Science, Society and Policy, and psychology. In spring 2018, she was a student in the Brandeis ENACT course Advocacy for Policy Change. Rosenthal advocated on behalf of Massachusetts House Bill H. 488, an act to increase access to children's mental health services in the community. Through the ENACT course, she was able to speak with professionals in legislation, policy and mental health. Ultimately, this experience was the driving factor that inspired her to spend the following summer in Washington, D.C., interning with U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).
In addition to her role as an ENACT delegate, Rosenthal works for the Office of Admissions as a campus tour guide and student interviewer for prospective undergraduate students. She also has a weekly show on Brandeis' student-run radio station.
"Without the ENACT program at Brandeis University, I would have never had the political and advocacy experience I now have," Rosenthal said. "ENACT has helped inspire me to learn more about what I am passionate about, and has taught me that anyone can raise their voice and make a difference!"
Reflections on Her ENACT Experience
About a year ago, I was hanging up my blue blazer after my Present and Defend presentation with a bittersweet feeling at the pit of my stomach. I remember the stress that was coursing through my body as I handed in my final archived work, or when Professor Stimell asked after our presentation if the listeners would "vote" for our bill. Spoiler: Not everyone did. I remember thinking how grateful I was for the confidence I gained from my experience in Advocacy for Policy Change, and how sad I was for the learning to end.
I owe so much to the ENACT program: my growth as a student, the courage I gained to apply to the internship at Congresswoman Katherine Clark's office, the skills I developed that I used at that very internship, the excitement I have about advocacy, and more.
To me, there is no better way to learn than the hands-on encouragement of experiential learning. ENACT threw me into the Massachusetts State House clutching my pen and folder, telling me to "go advocate" and hope for results. It's one thing to write an elevator speech, but to actually practice it is a whole other ball game.
Fast forward one year later, and I now get to see my roommate go through the same process. All year I would wish her luck as she left for her State House visits, working on her story book or seeing her complete (successfully) her own Present and Defend presentation. I was able to see her own confidence and excitement for the policy process grow, as I did only a year earlier.
Last year, through ENACT, I was given the opportunity to make an impact on the bill I was passionate about. I was able to learn about health policy, grow as a student and continue my journey of learning. This year, through ENACT, I was able to help provide the tools to other students, so they can go through that same journey.
I cannot explain the excitement I felt when I would run into my friend at work and he would tell me how excited he was to go to a rally at the State House about his bill. Or when my roommate would come home and had a few questions for me about her next assignment. I loved being able to videochat with Rutgers University and advise them on the best way to tackle an unresponsive legislator.
My experience as the ENACT student delegate allowed me to continue to be a part of the program I owe so much of my academic success to, while also seeing other students grow in the same way I did only one year prior. I cannot emphasize enough how crucial civic engagement is, today, tomorrow, even yesterday. Having been part of a program that promotes that very mission to young individuals, has been incredibly moving, and necessary. We very much live in an interconnected world, and therefore it is important that people of all ages and identities remain connected to policy changes as well.
ENACT is teaching young students that they have a voice, and their voice is one of the most important things in today's world. I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of a that work, that mission and the stories those very students are trying to tell.
As my time as an ENACT student delegate comes to a close, I am excited to continue to utilize what I have learned in my roles within the program in my future, and see how the program — and the students within the program — will grow.