Campus Progress

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Campus Progress, launched in February 2005 and renamed Generation Progress in July 2013,[1] was an American non-profit organization that promoted progressive political and social policy through support for student activists and journalists on college campuses in the United States.[2] Based at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., Generation Progress has an affiliated advocacy organization, Generation Progress Action.

Scope of Activity[edit]

Campus Progress has programs in (1) journalism, (2) activism, and (3) events. In all three areas, Campus Progress has a national component and a local component.

Journalism[edit] magazine is a web magazine written by young people, primarily focused on journalism, analysis, opinions, cartoons, videos, and organizing tools. Articles including reports on youth activism, reviews of films and music, and interviews with well-known people like Noam Chomsky, Barack Obama, Helen Thomas, Stephen Colbert, Margaret Cho, Larry David and Seymour Hersh. regularly profiles conservative leaders in its right-wing speakers bio section. Campus Progress distributes a print edition of its web magazine on college campuses and at events.

Campus publications network

Campus Progress supports progressive-leaning student publications on more than fifty campuses including The Claremont Port Side at the Claremont Colleges, Songhai News: The Black Collegiate Voice at the University of Houston, The Big Green at Michigan State University, The Fine Print at the University of Florida, Vanderbilt Orbis at Vanderbilt University, and The Dartmouth Free Press at Dartmouth College.[citation needed]

Issue Activism[edit]

Campus Progress works on national issue campaigns, including student debt and access to higher education,[3] the Iraq war, climate change,[4] affirmative action, and academic freedom.

Campus Progress advocates on behalf of young people by lobbying Congress and state governments, and producing media content, trainings, and other work with young people to advance their stances on these issues. On some of these national campaigns, Campus Progress works in coalition with other organizations including the United States Students Association, Student PIRGs, Energy Action Coalition, US Action, MoveOn, American Federation of Teachers, and other advocacy organizations.

Campus Progress also provides action grants to young activists engaging in campaigns on a variety of issues. Action grants include financial support, advice, support, and training. Some trainings focus on teaching young people how to effectively communicate in the media. Action grants have addressed a wide range of issues including LGBT rights, climate change, Sudan divestment, living wages,[5] fair trade, and the death penalty.

Campus Progress has also organized alternative spring breaks. In 2008, those programs addressed climate change (held in Santa Barbara, CA), the death penalty [6] (Austin, TX), and the war in Iraq (Washington DC).


Campus Progress has worked with students and other partners to hold more than 500 speaking programs, film screenings, debates, spoken word, training programs, and social events. Events have included discussions on HIV/AIDS,[7] academic freedom,[8] the war in Iraq,[9] and climate change. Campus Progress events are held at colleges and universities and in communities across the country. On events, Campus Progress has worked with a wide range of partners, including Media Rights, PBS and the National Black Programming Consortium, HBO, Participant Media, Focus Features, independent filmmakers, and others. Campus Progress also has taken its work on tour with the Foo Fighters, and to music festivals including Bonnaroo, Intonation, and Virgin.

Campus Progress hosts an annual National Conference in Washington, D.C. that includes 1000 young attendees. The first conference was held on July 13, 2005, and featured President Bill Clinton and Rep. John Lewis.[10] From The Nation Magazine: “For the first time ever, campus progressives convened, conversed and organized at their own national conference ― something right-wing groups have done annually since the 1970s…The conference left students, from Young Democrats to radical activists, energized and teeming with hope. Almost everyone I spoke with left the conference believing that a real, thriving and broad-based progressive student movement was overdue, necessary and most importantly, possible.”[11]

The second National Conference, held on July 12, 2006, featured Senator Barack Obama, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Samantha Power, Majora Carter, Rev. James Forbes, and rapper Fat Joe.[12] The third National Conference was held on June 26, 2007, and featured Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Russ Feingold, Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Tom Daschle, Ralph Nader, and Seymour Hersh.[13] The fourth annual national conference was held July 8, 2008, with remarks by former Senator John Edwards, Rep. Linda Sanchez, musicians Ted Leo and M1, and actor Ryan Gosling. The fifth annual conference, on July 8, 2009, featured President Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, White House green jobs advisor Van Jones, John Oliver from "The Daily Show," and Joel Madden from Good Charlotte.

In partnership with The Nation magazine, Campus Progress organizes youth journalism conferences including a West Coast conference in Los Angeles on January 26, 2008, featuring keynote speaker Naomi Klein, and an annual journalism conference held in Washington DC the same week as the National Conference.

Around the National Conference, Campus Progress also sponsors grassroots training days, with partners including Student PIRGs and Wellstone Action, and lobbying days on issues including Sudan, Iraq, the economy, and climate change.


From its founding in 2004 until January 2012, Campus Progress was led by David Halperin,[14] former White House speechwriter to President Clinton.

Campus Progress Action[edit]

A partner organization of Campus Progress, "Campus Progress Action", engages in advocacy, coalition, and media work on key policy issues of importance to progressive young people; advances grassroots issue campaigns on campuses and in communities; and trains young people in media, policy, writing, grassroots organizing, and other skills. Campus Progress Action has been recently engaged in organizing around the 2008 youth vote during the presidential nominating contests and the upcoming general elections by hosting events[15] and speaking with the press.[16]


Campus Progress is frequently criticized by conservative groups for its policy positions and activities[citation needed]. In a video for Michelle Malkin's Hot Air in 2008, Jason Mattera of Young America's Foundation criticized Campus Progress for their fund-raising tactics and questioned their relevance to young voters, criticism that Campus Progress addressed via their own taped response.[17]


External links[edit]