June 21, 2012 — Students participating in the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership's College Leaders Program at the University of Virginia will present projects on Friday and participate in a graduation ceremony Saturday.
The four-week program offers a curriculum based on public service and civic engagement to 25 college students statewide. In years past, some of the students' projects led to legislation that has passed the General Assembly.
On Friday at 10 a.m., participants will present their projects to a board of experienced government and business leaders, among them Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-25th District) and Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja, in U.Va.'s Maury Hall, room 209.
Some of the past projects became bills approved by the Virginia state legislature. Most recently, the participants' projects that are now law include bills on topics that range from family life education to foreign language academic requirements to grants for beekeepers.
The College Leaders Program, along with the Sorensen Institute's High School Leaders Program, have been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as being among the very best national models of youth education on the democratic processes.
Through a focus on ethics and bipartisanship, the College Leaders Program aims to prepare young leaders for responsible citizenship, to connect youths of different backgrounds and philosophies, and to energize the democratic system by promoting youth involvement.
The College Leaders Program also benefits from the many speakers that come to address the students. Speakers in the past have included former Virginia governors, U.S. senators, members of the Virginia General Assembly, key lobbyists and many others who work at all different levels of government.
The graduation ceremony will be held Saturday to recognize the students' successful completion of the program and their projects. U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt (R-5th Dist.), an alumnus of the Sorensen Institute's Political Leaders Program, will speak.
–– By Lisa Kessler