RU Ready

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

About RU Ready

Under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Matto, RU Ready features instructional methods that foster active citizenship. The program’s hallmark is the central role played by a team of Rutgers students who work directly with local high school students and administer interactive workshops and activities. Such peer to peer contact improves the likelihood that the lessons of RU Ready will be absorbed by the students experiencing them. The program 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.

Interested in implementing RU Ready in your high school? Visit RU Ready in the Classroom

RU Ready In-Class Sessions

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.  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.


Some examples of in-class session themes 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 vote on a the issue they were going to tackle through a legislative civic action project.

Engaged Role Models – Students are 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 learn how to use their own skills to make a difference.

Practicing Politics– Urged to think critically on the issue of their choosing, students present their civic action campaigns to a panel of lawmakers that was either in support or against the legislation.

Praise from past RU Ready participants

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 involved.”

Young Leaders Conference

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.

The 2021 RU Ready Young Leaders Conference featured college and high school students from our RU Ready National Partner Programs at The University of Texas at Austin, Drew University, Rutgers University-Newark and Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Watch the full recording of the 2021 RU Ready Young Leaders Conference here.

RU Ready Civics Fair

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.

Are you interested in hosting the RU Ready Civics Fair in your high school? Learn more about the RU Ready Civics Fair Toolkit