If you are a student and love politics, it can still be tricky to figure out how to get involved.  You can run for student body president or get civically involved with your school.  However, many students want more real-world experience.  Luckily, there is such a program available.

political animals

Politics and students can mix. Image: Shutterstock


as a memorial to President Kennedy.  The program’s goal is to inspire undergraduates to consider careers in politics and public service.

The IOP oversees the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, an arena for political speech, discussion, and debate, and runs a fellowship program.  During that time, politicians spend semesters at Harvard and interact with students.  It gives students a chance to talk to people already working in the field, and it is probably inspiring for the politicians to be around students who are full of optimism and civic pride.

If students choose to become more involved, they can apply for one of the many paid internship opportunities.  They run for eight to ten weeks over the summer.  Students can also participate in citizenship mentoring, the Community Action Committee, contribute to the “Harvard Political Review” or attend informal dinners and discussions with the Harvard Political Union.

The IOP does not offer formal courses or degrees.  What it does do is offer pathways to practical experience and tries to engage students to think creatively about politics and public issues.

One of the most exciting additions is that the Institute has conferences in which new members of Congress and new mayors are brought together after each Presidential election to analyze the race with campaign officials.

boy in front of White House

Politics and students can mix. Image: Shutterstock

There are some well-known names attached to the program.  Some of the members of the Senior Advisory Committee have included Ken Mehlman, Caroline Kennedy, David Axelrod and Richard L. Berke.

John F. Kennedy once said, “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.”

The IOP is making sure the youth of this nation are given the opportunities to go forward and do their best to create a more fair, verdant and prosperous America.