From research to advocacy: how PHC's newest student organization is creating real-world change

Posted by Hannah Gaschler on 3/4/24 9:37 AM

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The Patrick Henry Policy Institute (PHPI) is a new policy advocacy student organization that allows PHC students to research and promote policies across different levels of government. Students can work on initiatives according to their interests, and they gain valuable experience in research, communications, and advocacy. 

“We want our work to be meaningful,” board member Logan Crockett said. “We aren’t just a lobbying group. We really want students to get involved, take advantage of a representative government and our ability to contact legislators, and create real-world, meaningful change.” What does PHC's government major look like?Sophomore Jack Creel, sophomore Ainsley Stellman, freshman Allie Satterfield, and junior Logan Crockett started the club to fill a gap they saw for government majors. “[Government] students normally do their real-world work in an internship context, but, to my knowledge, there hasn’t been some kind of internal way to apply our skills to be doing real-world things,” Stellman said. For example, Economics & Business Analytics majors can participate in the Patrick Henry Investment Group, and Strategic Intelligence majors participate in special projects.

The Policy Institute is running three projects this semester which are each focused on a different policy issue. Each project is composed of four members. The Research Associate conducts deep research on the policy, the problem it is addressing, and the impact that it will have. The Research Associate then designs the written materials given to the legislators.

The Strategy & Communications Associate conducts thorough political analysis of the targeted legislative body, determining whose support would be key and who is likely to support the policy. Strategy & Communications also manages all communication with the legislators and adapts to legislative changes to push the bill through.

The Advocacy Associate meets with key legislators, informing them about the bill, answering any questions they might have, and trying to secure commitments. Finally, the Project Manager oversees the team, providing guidance and support to every member.PHPI Logan Crockett quote
Before opening PHPI to the student body, the four board members completed a pilot project in the two weeks before Congress recessed. They researched two different bills addressing human rights issues. The Board then created informational material, found the top legislators whose support they needed, and secured commitments from 30% of these legislators. They then launched PHPI with three projects. 

Project North Star, led by junior Sarah Fox, focuses on supporting programs that equip nonprofits for helping North Korean refugees. Project Guardian, led by junior Jason Chahyadi, focuses on two acts about combating social media abuse. Project L.I.F.E., led by sophomore Nathan He, focuses on the SIREN Act to fund small local EMS agencies, as well as the Plan to End Parkinson’s, which establishes oversight to improve care for Parkinson’s patients. Any PHC students can apply to work on these projects.
Check out the PHPI website!“We have so many talented people on this campus who are great communicators,” Creel said. “We have the most talented people in the nation. How about we do something good with them?”

Additional reporting by Susannah Ely.

Learn more about PHC's government major


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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