American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Summer Advocacy Institute for High School Students

ACLU Summer Academy

ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute

ACLU Summer Institute Speakers

ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute Speakers






ACLU Summer Institute
Program Overview

From free speech to privacy and from mass incarceration to voting rights, students will become experts on the issues currently being confronted in the United States’ courts and political arena.

The ACLU’s Summer Advocacy Institute will bring together a diverse group of students entering their junior and senior years of high school from across the United States to participate in an advanced, firsthand learning experience for the next generation of social justice advocates. Through an intensive 7-day program, students will learn directly from lawyers, lobbyists, community activists, journalists, and other experts working to defend the civil rights and liberties critical to a free and open society. The Close Up Foundation — a DC-based civic-education nonprofit — will serve as a partner with the ACLU to provide substantive experiential learning opportunities that help students hone their skills as issue-focused campaigners.

In classroom sessions, lectures, and daily debates, students will explore the complex nature of defending and advancing civil liberties as well as contend with the importance of these freedoms in our current society. Students will be immersed in the real world of political and legal decision making in Washington, D.C., meeting with elected officials and journalists as well as participating in workshops with civil rights pioneers and current youth activists. Students will draw on these experiences to develop an advocacy campaign on a contemporary issue of their choosing and will present and receive professional feedback on their project from the real political change-makers in our nation’s capital.  Learn more here.

with lobbyists, lawyers, grassroots activists, and journalists on social justice
expertise and knowledge in advocacy and grassroots activism to successfully mobilize around social and political justice
fully in debate, developing successful media and social networking strategies, and observe policy development on Capitol Hill

Program Dates: June 19-25, 2016

Location: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Deadline to Apply: Rolling admissions. Students who apply before February 15th, 2016, will have their application fee waived.

Scholarships available.


Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU

Anthony D. Romero is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s foremost guardian of liberty for nearly 100 years. Under his leadership, the ACLU has grown into a nationwide organization of more than a million members, activists, and supporters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Whether it’s winning marriage equality, ending mass incarceration, protecting privacy, or preserving the right to an abortion, the ACLU safeguards the individual rights of everyone in their pursuit of happiness. 

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden  he has single-handedly reignited a global debate about the extent and nature of government surveillance and our most fundamental rights as individuals. 

Cristina Jiménez

Cristina Jiménez is co-founder and managing director of the United We Dream Network, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country. The organization, which is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies, has been a critical force in addressing immigration inequities across the country. Originally from Ecuador, Cristina came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student. She was recently named among Forbes’ “30 under 30 in Law and Policy,” one of “21 immigration reform power players” and one of 5 non-profit leaders who will influence public policy by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Jamilah Lemieux

Jamilah Lemieux is a senior editor at EBONY magazine, the publication of record for African-Americans since 1945. A prolific writer and media commentator on race and other social justice issues, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans as well as Fortune’s list of most influential women on Twitter in 2014.

Speakers will be added. Check back for updates.


Learn about effective tools for activists from journalists and social networking experts. Experience the passion of student activism, past and present, in a workshop with civil rights activists and the March on Washington Film Festival.


Discuss issues with congressional staff and lobbyists on the Hill.

Learn More Here


Please be advised that students will be accepted on a rolling basis, with applications reviewed in the order in which they are received. Students will receive a decision by email within two weeks of the date their application is received.

Apply Online

One recommendation from a high school teacher or school counselor, to be emailed to Your name must be in the subject line.
Application essay
Please describe your academic and personal interest in social justice and advocacy. What do you see as being the most important civil liberties or rights issue of the moment? Feel free to be creative and do not limit yourself to ACLU priorities. (500-word maximum).
Non-refundable application fee of $50.00.
Waivers: Any applicant who intends to apply for full financial aid should email to request a fee waiver code prior to submitting the application. In the email, please include your full name and your intention to apply for financial aid.
Apply Now


Students must be entering their junior or senior year of high school.
Have a strong interest in social justice, civil liberties, and advocacy.

Tuition & Fees: Room & Board

A tuition fee of $2,100 per student covers residential living on Georgetown University’s campus, all experiential learning activities, off-campus social events, and all student meals, with the exception of those off-campus excursions where students are given supervised free time to explore and eat on their own. Transportation to and from Washington, D.C., will be arranged by Close Up, and information regarding travel arrangements will be included in acceptance material. Scholarships are available. Any applicant who intends to apply for full financial aid should email to request a fee waiver code prior to submitting the application. In the email, please include your full name and your intention to apply for financial aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I or my child apply to the ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute?
2. Are scholarships available?
3. Will students participate in social activities?
4. Who supervises students?
5. What will students have access to on Georgetown University’s campus?
6. How are rooms assigned?
7. How will my child get from the airport/train station to the Georgetown campus?
8. What are the procedures for students who get sick?

About the ACLU

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Whether it’s achieving a 50 percent reduction in mass incarceration by 2020; challenging police brutality nationwide; establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance; or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion; the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide non-partisan nonprofit that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., to safeguard everyone’s rights. The ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute builds upon this tradition to directly engage youth in becoming civil liberties advocates in their own right.

About the Close Up Foundation

Close Up is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that educates and inspires young people to become informed and engaged citizens. Since 1971, Close Up has partnered with schools and organizations across the country to inform, inspire, and empower young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.

Contact Us


Phone: 212.284.7370


Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and leave a comment.

Speak Your Mind


Back to Top ↑