Project Pericles

Advocate. Facilitate. Inspire.

Building on the Legacy and Innovative Vision of Eugene Lang - Since its founding in 2001, Project Pericles has grown into a vibrant consortium of liberal arts colleges and universities that plays a vital role in promoting civic engagement in higher education.

Our model is unique: Project Pericles works at all levels of the campus. We engage college boards of trustees, presidents, provosts, and other senior staff; Periclean program directors on each campus; faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members.

We work in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community. This gives us leverage to push for institutional transformation and the incorporation of civic engagement and social responsibility across the college experience while engaging, not just a few, but the majority of students on our campuses – either directly through Periclean programs or indirectly by creating a campus culture that thoroughly integrates civic engagement and social responsibility, most importantly, in the curriculum. Through our research projects and publications, we also promote greater awareness within higher education about the value and importance of civic engagement.

Periclean Programs

The national office of Project Pericles works with Periclean colleges and universities to develop civic engagement programs that support, enhance, and extend their existing activities. These programs are designed to deepen the Periclean mission on campus by enabling faculty to incorporate civic engagement into the curriculum and by empowering students to become more thoughtful and effective advocates. Signature Periclean programs include:

Creating Cohesive Pathways to Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement Course (CEC)™ Program

Debating for Democracy (D4D)™

Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™



Recent News and Updates


Skidmore College Joins Project Pericles 

Project Pericles is delighted to announce that Skidmore College is our newest member institution.

"At its core, Project Pericles is about collaboration and leveraging our collective expertise in order to build stronger and more cohesive curricular programs incorporating civic engagement and social responsibility. We are adding campuses that can significantly contribute to and elevate our conversations." said Jan Liss, Project Pericles' Executive Director, "Our board decided to extend an invitation to Skidmore given their demonstrated commitment to civic engagement and their interest in working with Project Pericles and its member institutions. The support of their Board of Trustees and President Philip Glotzbach was compelling. We are extremely pleased to have them join Project Pericles."

Each member campus appoints a Project Pericles Program Director to coordinate programs on campus and serve as a liaison to the national office. We are pleased to be working with Associate Professor of History Eric Morser, Skidmore's Faculty Director of Civic Engagement.  Eric is an early American historian who is especially interested in cities and in the origins of radical political protest in rural New Hampshire during the antebellum era. He is also an award-winning teacher who has worked extensively with public school teachers around the country. In addition to serving as Skidmore's Project Pericles Program Director, Eric will help enhance the intentionality, creativity and vision of Skidmore's many civic engagement activities.

"For a number of years, Skidmore students have participating in our Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ on the Road workshops for student activists," said Garret Batten, Project Pericles' Assistant Director, "Skidmore's students are addressing pressing social problems and we are pleased to deepen our work with them." 

Project Pericles is excited for Skidmore to be represented at our Presidents' Council Meeting and our Program Directors' Meeting both taking place in November 2015. We also look forward to Skidmore's participation in our signature programs including Debating for Democracy (D4D)™, Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL)™ Program, and Student Choices – Student Voices (SCSV). 



The Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ on the Road Calendar is Out!

Thanks to the generous support of the Spencer Foundation, Project Pericles is organizing 10 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ on the Road workshops across the United States, which will reach hundreds of participants from more than 20 colleges and universities! Through these non-partisan workshops, Project Pericles has reached more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members on campuses across the country over the past seven years. We empower participants to effectively work within the democratic process to address pressing social, civic, and economic issues. The full schedule can be found below.

Project Pericles is pleased to partner with Wellstone Action once again for the D4D on the Road workshops we are offering this academic year. Wellstone is one of the leading providers of trainings for college students, and the trainers - Emily Caponetti, John Gilbert and Naomi Long - have extensive experience leading innovative and impactful civic engagement workshops.

We hope to see you at one of the workshops!

2015-2016 D4D on the Road Workshop Schedule:

Saturday, September 19, 2015 Hendrix College, Conway, AK
Saturday, October 17, 2015 Drew University, Madison, NJ
Saturday, November 07, 2015 Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, November 14, 2015 Chatham University, Pittburgh, PA
Saturday, December 05, 2015 Berea College, Berea, KY
Saturday, December 05, 2015 New England College, Henniker, NH
Saturday, January 23, 2016 Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
Friday, February 19, 2016 Pace University, New York, NY
Friday, February 26, 2016 Wagner College, Staten Island, NY
Saturday, March 19, 2016 Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA

Student Choices – Student Voices (SCSV) Returns to Periclean Campuses!

In 2016, Project Pericles will celebrate its 15th anniversary, and to celebrate Mr. Lang's vision we are expanding a program he cherished greatly; Student Choices – Student Voices.

Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) is a Periclean program that encourages colleges and universities to develop innovative projects on campus and in the community to engage voters in the election process. SCSV seeks to increase voter registration and voting for students and community members. Under SCSV, Pericleans hold one or more events on campus and/or in the community that relate to at least one aspect of the 2016 Presidential Elections. SCSV encourages and facilitates thoughtful engagement of students in the political process—learning about candidates, understanding issues, and championing knowledgeable opinions.

We look forward to sharing with you the exciting activities our Periclean colleges and universities are organizing once the program officially kicks off in the fall! 



Read the 2015 D4D National Conference Newsletter here! 


Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference

Incarceration reform, veterans' health issues, gun control, and combating discrimination on college and university campuses were among the diverse issues tackled by student leaders as they met with public policy experts and activists at this year's Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference. The two-day conference, an initiative of Project Pericles, was hosted by President David Van Zandt and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts on March 19 and 20 in New York City.

The conference featured two interactive workshops for our students, panel discussions, a Legislative Hearing, and time to network with fellow student activists from around the country (Agenda). We concluded with visits to five local non-profits, Community Voices Heard, Friends of the High Line, Harlem Grown, Inside Out/College and Community Fellowship, and Museum at Eldridge Street/A Landmark Synagogue Story. 

Attended by student leaders from Periclean campuses, college presidents, faculty, staff, nonprofit activists, and foundation, government, and community leaders, the conference provided a forum to share ideas and advocate for issues of critical social and political concern - representing the mission of Project Pericles in action.

Our thanks to Eugene M. Lang, whose vision inspired this conference and to the Eugene M. Lang Foundation for its ongoing support of Project Pericles. 

As Part of D4D National Conference, Student Teams Take Home $5,000 to Work on Advocacy Campaigns on their Campuses and in their Communities  

2015 D4D National Conference - Rhodes Students with Legislative Hearing Judges

Students from Rhodes College (Paul Brandt; Alex Dileo; Samuel Holder; and Parker Lyons) with the Legislative Hearing Judges (Carol Browner, Former EPA Administrator; former U.S. Congressman Thomas Downey (D-NY); and the Honorable Edwina Richardson-Mendelson), and Project Pericles Executive Director Jan Liss.

Five "Letters to an Elected Official" were featured at the conference's Debating for Democracy (D4D) Legislative Hearing. They were selected from letters written by teams of students from Periclean campuses and proposed innovative solutions to issues including education, immigration, and the environment. These letters were sent to elected officials across the United States.

At the hearing, teams of students from Bates College, Carleton College, Macalester College, Occidental College, and Rhodes College presented their public policy proposals to a panel of current and former government officials: Carol Browner, Former EPA Administrator; former U.S. Congressman Thomas Downey (D-NY); and the Honorable Edwina Richardson-Mendelson.

The Rhodes College team of Alexandra Dileo and Samuel Holder won the hearing for their "Letter in Support of Net Neutrality by Reclassifying Internet Service as a Public Utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934," which they sent to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The pair urged Senator Isakson to safeguard net neutrality by supporting the reclassification of internet service as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Their letter was very timely and, subsequent to their writing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did move to reclassify internet service.

Rhodes will receive a $3,000 award to develop an advocacy campaign and we are looking forward to working with them on issues related to internet access. The four finalist teams will each receive a $500 award also to be used to develop an advocacy campaign to move their issue forward. This is the first time that Occidental College and Rhodes College were represented in the finals. Descriptions of the five finalist letters are available here.

We are proud of all the Periclean students on campuses throughout the country who participated in the competition!



Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement 

This three-year project will further enhance our delivery of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility (CESR) opportunities to students in all majors and will significantly increase the reach of civic engagement programming across the curriculum. Read more about Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement.

Project Pericles Announces 15 Mini-Grants to Member Campuses around the Country

Project Pericles awarded 15 mini-grants to 16 Periclean Colleges and Universities. The projects focus on strengthening the integration, organization, and assessment of curricular and co-curricular programming for civic engagement and social responsibility. The awards were made as part of Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement, a three-year project designed to improve approaches to civic engagement in higher education. To read more about the mini-grants, click here

This work is made possible through the generous support of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation



For more information about receiving copies of our newsletters and publications, please e-mail Garret Batten.