University Legislative Scholars

About the Program

Previously known as the “Presidential Student Legislative Advocates,” the University Legislative Scholars program is open to undergraduate students enrolled at OSU-Corvallis, OSU-Cascades, and on-line.

The program has four goals:

1.    To ensure that voices that have historically been absent from the decision-making process in Oregon are heard;

2.    To facilitate experiential learning and long-term professional development in the political and public policy process, across all academic disciplines, with particular attention to historically marginalized populations;

3.    To support higher education in the Oregon legislative process in order to rectify decisions and actions that limit access and affordability and that contribute to long-term debt for students and their families; and

4.    To continue to develop the Program’s ability to understand, reflect, and incorporate equity and inclusion in its own activities and content.   

For the 2021-22 academic year, we anticipate in-person classes that enable on-line and OSU-Cascades students to participate. We will continue to pursue our goal of fostering diversity and inclusion to create change in a political world that is currently marked by polarity, an on-going pandemic, historic racial injustice, resistance to science, and an uncertain future created by a changing climate. We are actively seeking the participation of historically marginalized, under-represented, and STEM students who are interested in engaging in the political process.

The Application Process

Two pathways are available for students to apply to the Program. First, as in previous years, we are reaching out to University leaders, faculty and advisors seeking nominations for students to participate in the University Legislative Scholars. In addition, any 3rd- and 4th-year student may apply directly to the Program. All participants, whether nominated or applying directly, must compete an application. Please APPLY HERE.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, April 30, 2021. Students should confirm that their schedules will enable them to participate in weekly, hour-long meetings held at 5:00 PM each Wednesday over Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.

Evaluation of Applications 

All applications submitted by Friday, April 30 will be reviewed by a committee consisting of OSU faculty and advisors, practitioners who are familiar with Legislative Scholars, and students who have previously participated in the Program.
Applications will be reviewed based on the answers to two questions (see below); previous involvement and engagement in university or community-based activities; writing ability; degree to which applicants followed the application directions; and the applicant’s demonstrated awareness of, and ability to represent, the diverse array of students enrolled at OSU.
All applicants will be notified of their status before priority registration begins for the fall quarter (May 16, 2021). Students who do not enroll in a timely manner may be replaced by another applicant.

The application requires three substantive elements:

  • A brief “issue statement” that addresses why the student is interested in participating in the PSLA and identifies a state policy issue that is of concern to the applicant;
  • A current resume; and
  • The name and contact information of an OSU faculty or staff member who can serve as a reference – transfer students may use a reference from another institution.

The Issue Statement:

The Issue Statement is limited to one page total, 12 pt font, 1.5 line spacing and should address the following two questions.
1. Why are you interested in the University Legislative Scholars program?
2. Tell us about a state policy issue that is of interest to you. Please be as specific as you can. Why is this issue important to you, and what change would you like to see and be a part of? 
For assistance in determining an issue of interest, applicants are encouraged to visit the Oregon Legislative website, or search for “issue briefs” at the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

The Resume: While resumes may help indicate previous levels of engagement and experience we do not expect students to have engaged in any previous political or policy related activities. We are interested in how you project yourself. Participants in the Program will use resumes when reaching out to individuals and offices for job shadowing, internships and other experiential learning opportunities. (The Program will also provide workshops to assist participants in refining and developing their resumes.)

The Reference: We require applicants to provide the name of one OSU faculty member, advisor, or staff member who is familiar with their activities and interests. Transfer students who are new to OSU are welcome to use a reference from another institution. We encourage students to notify their reference that they have been included in the application.

If you have questions about the University Scholars Program please review our FAQ page, and feel free to contact the director – Jock Mills: