The Public Policy Challenge

The Public Policy Challenge is an interdisciplinary competition that is open to policy-minded Penn students who have an interest in any issue area.

The Challenge is an unparalleled opportunity for students to experience, connect, and serve.

Experience the policy process within a real world context.

The Challenge builds on an emerging area of concentration at Fels – the civic campaign – which describes the process of turning policy ideas into action. Students will begin to think of themselves as policy advocates and entrepreneurs. Guided by workshops and mentors, each team will choose a research-based policy proposal and will package it with an integrated campaign plan. 

Connect with colleagues across schools and disciplines.

University students and faculty from almost every field are able to affect public policy, but too few opportunities exist for policy work across disciplines. Genuine solutions to public challenges require leaders to draw upon a network of individuals and organizations with various types of specialized knowledge. The Challenge creates a forum for fostering interdisciplinary collaboration around common interests, broadening student networks, and strengthening ties across Penn.

Serve the community in which you live, focusing on significant regional issues.

To an increasing degree, metropolitan regions around the United States are finding it necessary to move beyond purely local interests. But traditional politics can create barriers to these efforts, as the scope of most decision-making bodies remains either too broad or too narrow for effective regional action. The Challenge requires student teams to identify ways in which local leaders can work together toward mutual benefit. Teams will tailor their plans to the specific needs of regional stakeholders, some of whom will serve as final judges. 

The Public Policy Challenge - Watch the Video!

Questions? Email

Since placing as Finalists in the 2014 Public Policy Challenge and receiving additional funding from Fels provided by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation, the LASaves team from the University of Southern...

Friday, September 12, 2014

In the short time after last March's Public Policy Challenge, 2014 Executive Director Elizabeth Tatum recognized there was much to reflect on her past year planning the Challenge and working with teams. Sitting down in the Fels Mansion before her May graduation, she is accompanied by Fels...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

By Kelliston McDowell, MPA '14


If there had to be one word used to describe the 2014 Penn Public Policy Challenge Finals, that would be it.

The word encompasses the participants’ commitment to making a...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Read about the 2014 Public Policy Challenge ...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Read about the 2014 Public Policy Challenge Finalists...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Read about the 2014 Public Policy Challenge ...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Read about the 2014 Public Policy Challenge ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Read about the 2014 Public Policy Challenge Finalists in our Meet the...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Congratulations to the Finalists in the 2014 Penn Public Policy Challenge!

In front of four panels of local leaders and esteemed Fels Institute of Government graduates, ten teams competed on Monday, January 27, in the Semi-Final round of the 5th...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Think "Shark Tank" for public policy: extraordinary ideas for solving contemporary challenges presented to a panel made up of experienced public officials and other experts by top students from highly rated public-administration schools. That would be a pretty...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sign Up For Our Email Lists

Stay current with news about Fels, events, and public sector job opportunities!