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.Learn More
Launched in 2002 with funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Young Elected Leaders Project (YELP) studies and works with young people who run for or hold public office. We provide unique insight into youth representation in U.S. political institutions and study young leaders’ experiences in public office.
YELP collects data on young people in politics at federal, state, and local level and provides analyses on the age, gender, and racial composition of political bodies in the U.S. Learn more about youth representation on our Current Data page or follow the links below.
Through Rutgers’ Aresty Research Center, undergraduate students can apply to join the Young Leaders team for the duration of one academic year. This unique learning experience enables our Aresty students to contribute to ongoing research projects on young people serving in or running for office. The program concludes with a presentation of the students’ research findings at CYPP in addition to their presentation at Aresty’s annual symposium.
Learn more about the Aresty Research since 2018.
After its launch in 2002, the Young Elected Leaders Project collected data on young elected officials throughout the United States and conducted surveys about their background and leadership experience. In May 2003, young elected leaders (age 35 and younger) were invited to the Eagleton Institute of Politics for a conference on young people serving in office. In 2004, Ruth B. Mandel and Katherine E. Kleeman published the project’s findings in the report titled “Political Generation Next”. The full report can be downloaded here. The key findings of the report are summarized below.
In 2002, the Eagleton study identified a total of 814 men and women age thirty-five and younger serving among all officials in Congress, statewide elective executive positions, state legislatures, and municipalities with over 30,000 population. Young elected officials held approximately 4.8 percent of all these positions combined, constituting a minuscule proportion of public officials. They included six Members of Congress, two statewide elected officials, 321 state legislators, and 485 municipal officials.
Young elected leaders grew up in homes where politics might well have been a dinner-table topic of conversation. Their families not only talk about politics – they engage in politics.
Young elected leaders tend to be active citizens. Similar to U.S. political elites of any age, young political officials are joiners and doers, tuned in to the world around them. They are also more trusting of people’s motives than are young people in general.
Political party identification, ideology (conservative, moderate, liberal) and views on cutting edge issues.
Among the respondents to the survey of young elected leaders, we found a number of significant gender differences. We also identified several areas where, sometimes surprisingly, no gender differences were evident.
Even the Presidents of the United States had to start somewhere. Check out past Presidents as Young Elected Leaders.
Session I: Panel of Young Elected Leaders
Tuesday February 22, 2021 at 12:00PM to 1:00PM EST | Zoom
Open to Current College Students
Join the Center for Youth Political Participation and the New Leadership® National Network for RU Running? Political Campaign Training for college students. A three-part, virtual political campaign training for college students interested in running for public office or working on a campaign, RU Running? participants will gain campaign skills and networking opportunities with public operatives and young elected leaders from around the country.
Save the date for our upcoming sessions:
For more from The Daily Targum’s coverage, click here.
For more information on RU Running? Political Campaign Training, contact firstname.lastname@example.org