Friday, July 24 - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The ACLU National Advocacy Institute College and Community Program will prepare college-aged participants (ages 18-24) for lifelong engagement in grassroots organizing, policy development, and legal advocacy. This week-long program in Washington, DC, is designed to engage Institute alumni, as well as other college-aged participants, to bring their advocacy skills and passion for campus and community organizing to the next level. Participants will enhance their knowledge of civil liberties and social justice issues, as well as learn about internships and professional opportunities in public policy, law, communications, and social impact work to help them prepare for a career in the law and public service.

Return to ACLU AdvoCacy Institute


The ACLU College and Community Program will prepare students ages 18-24 for lifelong engagement in grassroots organizing, policy development, and legal advocacy. This week-long program in Washington, DC is designed to engage Institute alumni, as well as other college students, to bring their advocacy skills and passion for campus organizing to the next level. Students will enhance their knowledge of civil liberties and social justice issues, as well as learn about internships and professional opportunities in public policy, law, communications, and social impact work to help them prepare for a career in the law and public service. Participants will take part in a special, day-long Next Generation Conference and Gala to mark the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the ACLU.

 Key program elements will include:

  • Electives that examine the successes and struggles of local, state-wide, and national campaigns.
  • Grassroots workshops to build skills including community and power mapping; coalition building; public speaking; and techniques for converting an online presence into real-world change.
  • Seminars that explore issues of social justice and civil liberties that are currently playing out on college campuses.
  • Next Generation Conference and Gala to mark the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the ACLU. This one-day event will feature past and present ACLU leadership, as well as special guest speakers from the public sector and other nonprofit organizations.
  • Building connections with other young activists in your college or community and develop coordinated strategies to address local and regional concerns.
  • Internship and Career Networking designed to expose students to career opportunities in law, communications, public policy, human rights, and graduate work around organizing and advocacy.
  • Exposure to Capitol Hill, policy-making institutions, and key historic sites in the Washington, D.C. area.

Friday, July 24 - Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Washington, D.C.

College-aged students *18-24 are welcome to apply. Participants must be at least 18 years old at the time of the program and completed one year of college or have graduated high school at least one year prior. Participants who graduate from high school in the spring of 2020 are encouraged to apply to the High School Program.

The ACLU College and Community Program is looking for participants who demonstrate a keen interest in civil liberties issues and social justice advocacy. Participants are not required to have previous familiarity with civil liberties issues or advocacy methodologies (and those who are already deeply immersed in civil liberties issues/advocacy will have a unique opportunity to deepen their skill set and expand their organizing network).

Students are required to complete the following requirements before the application deadline for the admissions committee to consider the student for the program.

1. Submit a completed online application
2. Submit a letter of recommendation  

The admissions process for the program is built around three application deadlines: Early Decision, Priority Decision, and Regular Decision. Preference will be given to applicants who submit their applications during the Early Decision and Priority Decision deadlines. Applicants will hear from the admissions committee within three weeks after the deadline. Once applicants are accepted, they will be required to submit a registration form and submit a non-refundable deposit to secure their spot in the program.

Early Decision: Applications are due December 15th and successful candidates will be notified by January 8th

Priority Decision: Applications are due February 16th and successful candidates will be notified by March 11th

Regular Decision: Applications are due April 5th and successful candidates will be notified by April 22nd

The ACLU is committed to providing scholarship opportunities for students who qualify based on family income. Full and partial scholarships will be available.

Financial aid awards are based on need. Students must apply for Financial Aid at the same time as the Program Application. Students will receive their program admissions decision and financial aid decision at the same time.

Please complete the separate financial aid application and include your application number.

A tuition fee of $2,000 per student covers all experiential learning activities, lodging, off-campus social events, and student meals. Transportation costs are not included in this program’s tuition.

Transportation to and from Washington, D.C., can be arranged by our partner organization, The Close Up Foundation, for an additional cost. Information regarding travel arrangements can be found in the Transportation section of the FAQs.

Our full FAQ can be found here.

Stay Informed