Career Advancement

Public Policy Challenge

2016-2017 Applications are due by Tuesday, November 1st 

Apply HERE

What is the Public Policy Challenge?

The Public Policy Challenge is a real-world team competition where students passionate about public policy and entrepreneurship come together to develop innovative ideas to improve the city of Philadelphia. Each team is asked to define a specific problem in Philadelphia, identify key stakeholders, and develop policy proposals and integrated campaign plans designed to achieve significant positive change in their community. 

The semi-final competition will be held in early February, and the Final competition will take place on Sunday, February 26th at the Perry World House. The competition is open to both Penn Graduate and Undergraduate students. Applicants may apply as individuals or with preferred teammates, and will be placed on teams based upon an applicant's passions and interests. 

Congratulations to 2016 National Invitational winner Ballot Ready from the University of Chicago! Read more about their winning idea here.

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. 

Questions? Email Executive Director, Brittany Keesling:

Public Policy Challenge News


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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829