Just Do It Civic Skills Class

The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and the Department of Political Science in Arts & Sciences have collaborated to offer one credit courses that teach students to leverage the political process to promote the social good.

Fall semester:
Just Do It! Running for Political Office (L32 227) gives undergraduates the opportunity to discuss issues and learn skills related to running for political office at the national level through research, discussion and participation in simulated exercises that may face a candidate and campaign staff.

Spring semester:
Just Do It! Turning Your Passion into Policy (L32 227) gives WashU undergraduates the opportunity to learn practical skills for tracking legislation, building coalitions, fostering advocacy skills and more.


A student providing testimony to mock legislators.

A student providing testimony to mock legislators.

These courses teach students about political rights and responsibilities. Students engage in dialogue, enact mock testimonials for seasoned community members, and learn how to be an effective player in the policy process. The class is taught by Tom J. Irwin, executive director of Civic Progress and graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“The class really encourages students to apply what they learn to whatever their interests or passions are. We learned how to understand opposing viewpoints, weigh the ethics of different decisions, and present their opinions succinctly. These skills go beyond the politics of policy making- they can be tools for a life of civic engagement.”
– Peter Birke, a student in 2011 and teaching assistant for 2012, now working for the Department of Small Business Services for the City of New York.