- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

College students at campuses across the country have formed the Roosevelt Institution, the nation’s first student-led think tank.

Composed of students in more than 120 campus chapters, leaders of the self-described “progressive” think tank say they hope to shape policy on issues such as economics, the environment and health.

The institution has released the first issue of its policy journal, the Roosevelt Review. Conceived as a biannual publication, the review offers in-depth treatises on topics such as AIDS prevention in Africa, alternatives to oil drilling and children’s health insurance.

“Think tanks like to call themselves colleges without the students,” said Quinn Wilhelmi, a junior at Stanford and the group’s executive director. “Roosevelt is a college without the professors.”

He said the group was formed after the 2004 presidential election.

“Some of us were disappointed in the outcome of the election; all of us were disappointed in the debate,” Mr. Wilhelmi said. He and a small group of fellow students began forming a network of college students with views on policy.

Andrew Cox, a Yale junior and the group’s national communications director, said, “We want to take [students’] ideas and make them go somewhere.”

Last week, “somewhere” meant Washington, where Roosevelt Institution representatives hand-delivered copies of the Review to every congressional office in Washington.

The think tank was formed “mostly because of a sense of disconnection from what was happening in policy and our generation,” Mr. Cox said. “We are a generation that will get together and clean up a beach on a Saturday afternoon, but we’re depoliticized. We’re not a generation that will pass laws to keep the beach clean.”

After students distributed copies of the Review on Capitol Hill, the think tank set up “dozens” of meetings with chiefs of staff and legislative assistants. “A great deal of politicians and people involved in the business of making policy have thought we had good things to say.”

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