Introducing ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation

December 16th, 2015

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This year, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life will introduce a program across the nation, called ENACT, which will engage college students in transforming state laws. To do this, the center is creating a national expansion of the course Advocacy for Policy Change offered at Brandeis. This course combines learning about ethical issues in lawmaking with actual work in the field advocating for structural reform to existing law or the introduction of new legislation. The Ethics Center Leadership Council interviewed Hannah Marion ‘16, an alumn of Advocacy for Policy Change, to find out more about the influence of the course on students.


How do you think that the course Advocacy for Policy Change impacted you, personally, academically, and career planning-wise?

Before taking this class I thought I wanted to ultimately be a social worker, but after taking the class I realized just how much policy can affect people, and decided I also wanted to get a law degree and work in social policy.

What is an example of something meaningful you learned in Advocacy for Policy Change?

I learned that if you care enough about an issue, and put effort into advocating for a specific policy, you really can make a change.

How did the “experiential learning” aspect of Advocacy for Policy Change influence the course for you?

I loved it! Being able to talk to legislators at the State House was a great opportunity, and I definitely felt like I learned a lot from it. I also got a lot out of working with advocates in the community and learning from their experiences.

My group and I reached out to the Massachusetts Bail Fund and the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition. We participated in a couple different phone conferences and were really able to better understand the issues regarding bail reform in order to advocate at the State House. We met with a couple different state representatives and were able to offer them our legislative research report in hopes that they would vote in favor of bail reform. We also spoke with the Commissioner of Probation, Ed Dolan, to get his opinions on the record because his department would deal with the proposed legislation. Overall, the structure of the class really allowed me to grow as an independent learner and made me realize that being a successful advocate is based on doing sound research of both your argument and counterargument and being very persistent.

What do you think about Advocacy for Policy Change becoming a national program? Do you think that having this course offered around the country will impact students or spark change?

I think it’s a great idea! I definitely think that it would help to spark change.


Be sure to find out more about ENACT on the Ethics Center’s website:

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