Division of Student Services

Project Pericles - Debating for Democracy (D4D)

Attend an info session fall 2016:

  • Monday, 11/21/16, 4-4:30pm
  • Monday, 11/28/16, 12:30-1pm
  • Location: Student Center conference room (2nd floor)

Debating for Democracy (D4D) Letters to Elected Official Competition

From Project Pericles' webpage

"The D4D Letter to an Elected Official Competition engages students around public policy issues, the political process, and with their elected officials. ... Every year, a panel of judges with significant legislative experience select the five winning letters written by teams of students from Periclean campuses. Project Pericles awards prizes to the winning student teams to support their efforts to move their issue forward locally and nationally. In addition to the letter to an elected official, this year we asked students to share a project proposal about how they would use their award."

From Project Pericles' Debating for Democracy 2017 Legislative Hearing Request for Letters to an Elected Official:

"... students research, develop, and advocate their opinions and positions on current public policy issues.  The primary goal of D4D is to inspire and encourage all students to become successful and resourceful advocates in their community.

To encourage engaged citizenship, Project Pericles requests original letters to elected officials from teams (two or more students) at Periclean colleges and universities."

"One of the sessions at the national conference is the legislative hearing in which students discuss their policy ideas with a panel of current and former government officials. To participate in the conference students must write a letter to an elected official. Five of these letters from five different colleges will be selected to be presented at the legislative hearing. In addition to each campus’ two delegates, the two lead authors of the five finalist letters will travel to New York City to present and defend their public policy recommendation at the hearing."

Letter Writing and Project Proposal Timeline:

    • Monday, January 30, 2017
      • Letters due to Reed's Project Pericles Program Directors.   
      • Note: All student delegates who attend the conference must write a letter. Each college or university may submit up to four letters to an elected official to Project Pericles. A copy of the letter must also be mailed to the appropriate U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator, or State Representative.
    • Tuesday, February 21, 2017
      • A panel of experts will complete review of the letters and five teams (of two lead students) will be selected to present at the legislative hearing.  
    • Thursday, March 30 and Friday, March 31, 2017
      • 2017 D4D National Conference and Legislative Hearing at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City.

Letter Writing and Project Proposal Requirements:

    • The letter must be on a federal or state issue. The majority of local issues are also important federal and state issues.
    • The body of the letter may not exceed 1200 words (excluding footnotes and project proposal).  
    • A copy of the letter must be mailed to each student’s elected official by February 7, 2017.
    • Students should identify their elected official and their address. Since the authors will be urging their elected official to support or oppose a legislative solution, they will want to select the official who will be most responsive to their letter. More info here.
    • In cases where the two lead students have different elected officials, they should select one official to contact, and the student who is the constituent should be listed first.
    • The letter must begin with the phrase "Dear Representative (last name)" or Dear Senator (last name)" and be addressed correctly.
    • The letter should begin with a sentence that tells the elected official exactly what the student wants them to do. 
      • Example: "Dear Senator Elliott, As concerned citizens of the central Arkansas region, we write to you today to request that legislative action be taken to restrict local media sources, such as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, from publishing the names of juveniles being charged as adults."
    • The letter should contain the student’s mailing address so that the elected official can confirm them as a constituent and the elected official can write back.
    • The students must sign and date their letter.
    • All primary and secondary sources used in preparing the proposal must be cited.
    • The project proposal should not exceed two pages.

Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference

Two to four Reed College students will be selected to attend the D4D National Conference. The conference will be held at Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City on Thursday, March 30 through Friday, March 31, 2017.

From Project Pericles' webpage

"At the D4D National Conference, student leaders from Periclean campuses across the country are joined by college presidents, faculty, foundation representatives, government officials, community leaders, and members of the media to participate in a series of panels and workshops with leading experts on topics including: civic engagement, education, the environment, journalism, social entrepreneurship, and public policy." 

From Project Pericles' Debating for Democracy 2017 Legislative Hearing Request for Letters to an Elected Official:

"... two student leaders from each Periclean college and university will be selected by their campus to attend the 2017 D4D National Conference ... The conference consists of workshops, keynote addresses, and panel discussions that introduce the students to leading figures in civic engagement, education, environment, politics, social entrepreneurship, and public policy." 

Conference and legislative hearing eligibility - a student must:

    1. be a full-time undergraduate at a Periclean campus
    2. be a first, second, or third year student during spring 2017
    3. be returning to campus for the 2017-18 year
    4. write and mail a letter to an elected official
    5. provide a project proposal

Debating for Democracy (D4D) On the Road

Reed College students are invited to attend D4D on the Road to be held at Evergreen College on Saturday, February 25, 2017. Food and transportation provided.

From Project Pericles' webpage

"The D4D on the Road™ workshops hosted at Periclean colleges and universities provide training in leadership development, media strategy, coalition building, and effective messaging. In addition to their own students and staff, hosting Periclean campuses around the country welcome students from other local colleges and universities as well as community members. Using our carefully designed model, advocacy experts empower students, faculty, staff, and community members to advance their particular issue or cause. Participants learn advocacy skills that can be applied to a variety of issues and situations, including stakeholder identification, pending legislation analysis, and strategic planning. Participants identify new strategies for making change, practice developing and delivering an effective advocacy message, and build relationships to support and sustain their work.

Since 2008, Project Pericles has trained more than 3,400 participants at Periclean colleges and universities across the United States. All of the Periclean campus have participated in D4D on the Road. Through these day-long workshops participants learn to work within the democratic processes to improve the condition of society. Utilizing a series of dynamic exercises, participants learn strategies for developing effective messages, critically analyzing the opposition's messages, and the importance of thoroughly understanding their target audiences."


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Tara Sonali Miller
SEEDS Program Manager
Student Center 112

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