Carnegie Mellon University

Advocacy & Activism

Advocacy and activism efforts mobilize communities to use the power of united voices to create positive change in the world. SLICE aims to highlight some of the resources on campus that educate socially aware leaders, build allyship, and bring students together to be collective agents of change.

If you or your organization is hosting an advocacy-related event, let us know. Email SLICE with information about your event so we can share it with the Tartan community. You can also get in touch with SLICE if you need help developing and growing your advocacy initiative.

Carnegie Mellon Organizations

Graduate Student Assembly

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is the branch of student government that represents all graduate students at Carnegie Mellon. GSA advocates for graduate students rights within the campus community as well as the local, state and federal levels. 

GSA created an on-campus advocacy platform to address graduate student concerns ranging from transportation to healthcare. Learn more and access resources to advocate for change in your department.

GSA also advocates for graduate students’ rights at all levels of government. They have created an extensive legislative platform and an advocacy kit to empower students to raise their voice on political issues.

Student Senate: Advocacy Committee

The Advocacy Committee within Student Senate aims to strengthen the diverse and inclusive community at Carnegie Mellon. Their mission is to create an atmosphere where every student feels supported and is positioned to succeed. The Advocacy Committee puts a special emphasis on enhancing the experience of those who are part of underrepresented communities, such as students of color, LGBTQ+ students and first-generation students. The committee also focuses on sexual assault and relationship violence prevention. The committee is open to any undergraduate student who is interested in this type of work.

For contact information and meeting times, please visit the Student Senate committee directory page.

CMU Model United Nations

The Model United Nations (MUN) organization aims to facilitate global awareness and the debate of international issues relevant to the world today for members of the campus community through mock debates on campus and collegiate MUN conferences. They foster global learning for the on-campus community and high school students through their annual MUN Conference.

Here For You

Here For You aims to address students' mental health issues at CMU. It focuses on providing peer support and reducing stigma around mental health. The organization has created petitions calling for new measures at CMU’s Counseling and Psychological Services to promote racial diversity, equity and inclusion.

Liberty in North Korea

Liberty in North Korea (LINK) is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-ethnic and non-religious group formed in pursuit of the following mission statement: to educate the world about the humanitarian crisis in North Korea. 

Roosevelt Institute at CMU

The Roosevelt Institute at CMU is a nonpartisan, student-led policy based think tank, providing students with a national network and resources to develop and implement policy ideas at the campus, local, state and national levels. The organization aims to engage students in the political process and works to address issues of inequality and injustice and improve the lives of students and our communities.

SAFE: SARV Activism for Everyone

SAFE: SARV Activism For Everyone is an organization aiming to reduce the prevalence of sexual assault and relationship violence (SARV) on campus through activism, educational events and volunteering.

Spark the Movement

Spark the Movement is an organization that helps students facilitate various performance-based events and programs surrounding campus issues. We aim to empower our members to utilize their creativity to spread awareness and education around the Carnegie Mellon campus.

Sustainable Earth

Sustainable Earth encourages environmentally conscious living through a variety of hands on projects, public events and volunteer opportunities. The organization has launched several campaigns to reduce the use of bottled water (and other plastic waste) on campus, promote and introduce more local, sustainable, organic food options on campus and promote use of alternative energy systems on campus.

Tech4Society

Tech4Society is a group of CMU students looking to put their tech skills to use in the service of social good and local activist organizations. In the past, Tech4Society has worked in partnership with local organizations to run cybersecurity clinics for activists, conduct data visualizations on housing displacement and incarceration, and build a reproductive justice tool.

CMU Courses

Being an engaged advocate and leader requires you to be informed about the issues you care about most.

Adaptive leadership depends on an ability to draw a divided community into a dialogue that re-frames the problem and may even call on us to re-interpret our values. During the course you will organize a CMU Community Think Tank to explore this question: how do college students take effective leadership on public issues raised on campus (e.g., climate change, equity for workers, or the corporate ethics of would-be employers)? In this project of studying and taking leadership, you will develop skills in framing a shared problem, collecting data across diverse, often competing perspectives, in creating a Briefing Book to guide live Round Table problem-solving dialogues, and in documenting, writing and publishing your Findings on www.cmu.edu/thinktank. As a portfolio project, it will also demonstrate your ability to support problem-solving dialogues across difference in a community or organization.

This is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of politics and government in the United States. It familiarizes the student with the basic structures and processes of American government, but moves beyond the purely descriptive into the realm of the analytical. The main theoretical tools are spatial models of political decision-making, and models of collective action problems. The position taken in this course is that understanding American philosophical ideas about authority, power, and freedom is as central to demystifying the U.S. form of democracy as is understanding how decision-making institutions function. Thus, on one side, this course looks at how American political thought is infused into political institutions and society. On the other side, it investigates institutional arrangements using rationalistic theories. In addition, scientific writings at the intersection of psychology and economics are used to probe the possibility of gaining explanatory leverage on U.S. politics from the perspective of behavioral decision-making theories.

This course will examine Civic Engagement from the perspective of community and neighborhood issues which are often unstated but form the basis for community tension and lack of trust in the participatory process. Students will learn why the engagement process is valued in a democratic society, practiced locally, and how it is currently transforming to be more effective. While there are no right answers to effective civic engagement, the content and participatory role-playing will introduce students to the complexity of engagement issues, responsibilities, and hands-on facilitation experience to achieve better outcomes for citizens, communities, and practices for community decision and policymaking. New topics will be introduced on a weekly basis through student-led presentations and facilitated discussions. All students will be responsible for weekly reading and annotation assignments, selecting and leading at least one topic presentation and discussion, and submitting in-depth research and analysis based on their presentation topic as an end-of-term final paper. Assessment of individual performance will be based on weekly reading and annotation assignments, class participation, topic presentation and discussion facilitation, and the final paper. There will be no final exam.

Significant proposals in public policy at the local, state and federal level of the U.S. require usually require legislation to become a reality. Enter politicians, politics, and political processes. Elected politicians, both representatives and executives, are the ultimate arbitrators and decision-makers in public policy change. The political process can be very messy. Nonetheless public policy change can be successfully engineered from an idea to a reality. This course will explore past cases involving elected officials from the Pittsburgh region and Pennsylvania to illustrate the people, politics and processes involved in policy change. Students will then be required to apply what they learn from these cases to a contemporary policy challenge facing the Pittsburgh region. Prerequisites: None are absolutely required. However, students interested in state and local politics, the Pittsburgh region, and/or the state of Pennsylvania will find this course of special interest. Students who have a potential interest in running for public office and/or serving on the staff of an elected official will also find it of special interest.

Most of the problems we encounter require careful investigation and research so that we might propose solutions that connect with others to make change. In this class will learn how public problems are defined and argued across a range of texts, including proposals, op-ed genres, and white papers. By analyzing a range of proposal texts, we will identify the different kinds of legwork necessary to write a successful proposal. We will examine how writers unpack problems rhetorically and use evidence to argue solutions for different stakeholders who may not share common values. We will learn strategies for evaluating and synthesizing data from existing research to use in a proposal argument. By the end of the course, students will write their own proposal that recommends a solution and a feasible plan for solving a real problem.

Advocacy & Activism Trainings

Green Dot

Bystander intervention strategies and how to proactively shift our campus norms. Visit the Green Dot website for more information.

Tartan Allies

A series of trainings focused on being an ally to those in the LGBTQ+ community. Check the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion’s schedule for upcoming trainings. Contact Rowshan Lang for more information.

Bias Busters

Engage over issues of bias, diversity and inclusion through summaries of research evidence into which discussions of experience are woven. Apply concepts through role-play based on relevant and real life scenarios. Visit the Bias Busters website for more information.

CAPS Outreach & Prevention Education (COPE)

Holistic and inclusive trainings on topics such as relationship building, mental health first aid, and suicide prevention. Visit the CAPS website for more information.