Sunday July 9th – Friday July 14th, ages 15-18 including graduating seniors. Students must reside in one of the ACLU Affiliate states that are a part of the Southern Collective: AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV

The ACLU Southern Collective Advocacy Institute will convene in Atlanta, GA and travel to Montgomery, AL for a gathering of high school students (ages 15-18) from across the south to participate in a week-long learning experience for the next generation of social justice advocates, focused on local issues.

Students will travel from Atlanta, Georgia and to Montgomery, Alabama, while exploring the dense histories of each city and working directly with ACLU staff on their connections to the present. Students will engage with Southern Affiliate staff, lawyers, lobbyists, community activists and other experts working to defend the civil rights and civil liberties in the South. Through elective sessions, keynote events, site visits, and policy discussions, students will explore the complex nature of issue advocacy, legal strategy, and power-building in the South, as well as return home with advocacy tools to further their work and make change in their community.

We are excited to return to in-person programming in 2023, even as we continue to monitor the pandemic. Our first priority is the health and safety

of all participants and our program will adhere to all local vaccination requirements. All ACLU and program staff will be fully vaccinated. Any changes to the program will be announced ASAP, and, if we’re forced to cancel the in-person component, all student payments will be eligible for a full refund. In the event of in-person cancelation, we anticipate offering a virtual program (for a reduced fee!) that participants can elect to join. Student payments can be applied to a virtual program and the difference in price will be refunded.

  • Electives covering the ACLU’s wide array of issue areas, taught by communications experts, organizers, lawyers, policy advocates, and other professional staff from the ACLU and partner organizations.
  • Daily seminars in small groups to explore social justice and civil liberties issues.
  • Life-long connections and support structures with otheryoung activists from across the country.
  • A Day of Action –  This is not an exercise but a real opportunity to make your voices heard!
  • Boosting political knowledge and campaign abilities, learn more about mobilizing issue-based advocacy campaigns, growing a team, identifying a strategy for engaging with policy-makers, and maximizing impact for the issues that drive you.
  • Eligibility
    The program is open to rising high school students (grades 10-12) and graduating seniors that reside in one of the ACLU Affiliate states that are a part of the Southern Collective: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. Students must be 15-18 years old by the first day of the program.

The ACLU Advocacy Institute is looking for students who demonstrate a keen interest in civil liberties issues and social justice advocacy. Students are not required to have previous familiarity with civil liberties issues or advocacy methodologies. However, students who are already deeply immersed in civil liberties issues and or advocacy will have the opportunity to deepen their skill-set and expand their organizing network.

The ACLU values a diverse Institute audience and strives to build an inclusive culture of belonging. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, citizenship, disability, and record of arrest or conviction, or any other personal identity characteristic. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a person with a disability and have any questions or need assistance applying online, please email

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 letter of recommendation

The admissions process for the program is built around two application deadlines: Early Decision and Regular Decision. All applications received after Regular Decision will be considered on a rolling-basis. Preference will be given to students who submit their applications during the Early Decision deadline. Students will hear from the admissions committee within three weeks after the deadline. Once students are accepted, they will be required to complete a registration form and submit a non-refundable deposit approximately two weeks after notification of the admissions decision (students receiving scholarships must complete the enrollment form within this two week period).

  • Early Decision: Monday, April 17th
  • Regular Decision: Monday, May 15th

The ACLU is committed to providing scholarship opportunities for students who qualify based on family income. A limited supply of full and partial scholarships are 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.

Tuition for the In-person Program is $2,000 per student. This fee covers tuition, food, lodging in Atlanta & Montgomery, as well as the travel in between and all experiential learning activities, and social events.