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A civic engagement initiative, the mission of RU Ready is to provide students with the motivation and the civic, political, and expressive tools they need to address public problems in their community.
Interested in implementing RU Ready in your high school? Visit RU Ready in the Classroom
Under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Matto, Director of the Center for Youth Political Participation at Eagleton Institute of Politics, the project features instructional methods that foster active citizenship. The project’s hallmark is the central role played by a team of Rutgers students who work directly with local high school students and administer interactive sessions. Such peer to peer contact improves the likelihood that the lessons of RU Ready will be absorbed by the students experiencing them. The project currently is administered in area high schools and includes a series of in-class workshops, the RU Ready Young Leaders Conference and the RU Ready Civics Fair.
Piloted during the 2007-2008 academic year, the project has received support from:
RU Ready’s in-class workshops are conducted by a team of RU Ready Rutgers students and include evidence-based instructional techniques designed to foster active citizenship. Conducted over three distinct sessions, students are introduced to the four facets of political engagement, young role models who exemplify the facets and simulate the political process by tackling a fictional but relevant issue.
RU Ready’s Three In-Class Sessions Include:
Use Your Voice! – Through group discussion, students explore the strengths of their generation, the relevance of politics in their lives, and the various methods of civic and political engagement available to them. The high school students also voted on a the issue they were going to tackle through a legislative civic action project.
Engaged Role Models – Students were introduced to political engagement skills that go beyond running for office and voting. Recognizing young people engaging in political discussions, protesting and volunteering to solve problems directly in their communities, students learned how to use their own skills to make a difference.
Practicing Politics– Urged to think critically on the issue of their choosing, students presented their civic action campaigns to a panel of lawmakers that was either in support or against the legislation.
Praise for RU Ready
How might these sessions improve your role as a community member of New Brunswick?
“It helps me see things in a different perspective”
“Hopefully we can all work together one day in the future to actually make a change in the community”
“These sessions might improve my role to the community by volunteering more and getting more involve”
March 27, 2020
8:30am to 2:00pm
As a culminating activity, a conference is held at the Eagleton Institute of Politics for representatives of participating high schools. The day-long conference involves exploring youth political participation and “Generation Z”; revisiting the lessons learned in the classroom regarding avenues of civic engagement; and offering practical suggestions to young people not only interested in community involvement but in assuming leadership positions in their communities.
Piloted in the spring of 2019 at New Brunswick High School, the RU Ready Civics Fair was created with the purpose to share the lessons and resources in active citizenship, previously provided to only a selection of classes, to the entire student body. Located in the high school’s library, the RU Ready Civic Fair was held for a series of days and was comprised of a number of stations for high school students to visit – each station addressing different types of engagement and offering relevant resources and tips for getting involved. At the RU Informed? station for example, students were provided a guide about who serves in their local government and tips on how to speak at a City Council or School Board meeting. At the RU Speaking Out? station, students could contribute a drawing or quote to a dynamic mural that captured issues they cared about and wanted to improve in their city.