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Our mission is to change the way students think about politics and interact with each other.
IDEAL CAMPUS, the foundation of the organization, is based on student civic engagement. Unique in its ability to provide students a place to grapple with difficult issues, IDEAL CAMPUS aims to establish a the paradigm for a new generation of civic discourse and civic engagement, and we believe the answers lie in our incredible students.
IDEAL MEDIA, or Cherry Tree, applies this philosophy to its critical, thought provoking publications, podcasts, and live-interviews, in an effort to change the nature of the modern media. Cherry Tree is excited to bring a creative and innovative approach to journalism and news media.
IDEAL does not see a search for truth as an impediment to political success, but rather a mutually beneficial, communal excavation project. We are both saddened by the modern political climate, and eager to help search for a new IDEAL.
IDEAL is the parent company under which the two subsidiaries, CAMPUS (the high school and college chapters) and MEDIA (Cherry Tree) operate.
The high school and college chapters are the original foundation of IDEAL, and the core inspiration for the successive evolution of the organization.
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Founded in January 2011 by Liam Haviv, the organization was inspired by his time as a page in the United States Senate. The 112th Congress, hovering just above single digit approval ratings, was notorious for its inability compromise and pass legislation. The promise many of the pages made to each other upon their departure was to ensure that by the time they all returned to DC, there was a new normal--a Congress dedicated informed by its members’ differences, and constantly aware that country comes first. The pages' goal was to work with students to elevate the level of civic discourse, integrity, and sensitivity, and re-create the political realm in which individuals can disagree absent ill-will and animosity. Defined by the belief everyone operates with the intentions, this vision became IDEAL.
Since IDEAL's founding, partisanship, anger, and animosity have become defining features of the modern political discourse, the media, and government. Instead of advancing a singular political ideology with defined political positions, IDEAL promotes a philosophy of elevated civility, and we invest our energy in helping students define their own political world with an acute sensitivity to others. Apathy does not seem to be the American problem; rather it seems to be a lack of understanding for those of different opinion. This is compounded by the increasing volatility of modern social media, a medium that seem to hinder our ability to slow down and engage critically in political issues. We believe change begins with the youngest generations, and our investment in students is the core tenet of the IDEAL model. IDEAL wants to change the way students think about politics and interact with each other--that, seems to us, the first step in changing the world.
In five years, IDEAL has grown rapidly and steadily evolved. With chapters in high schools and colleges across the country, a community of thousands of students on both coasts and the states in between, IDEAL CAMPUS continues to expand alongside the blossoming media presence of Cherry Tree. IDEAL is here to stay. Now, our responsibility is to learn, adapt, and improve each and every day.
In the past months (and even days), it seems as though students across the country are overcome with a sense of sadness, frustration, and disbelief. And the persisting relevance of this sentence cannot be understated. IDEAL does not purport to bring one sole, all-encompassing answer the world. Rather, it hopes to inspire students to help find the answers to the problems face. IDEAL CAMPUS gives students a place to engage and discuss those complex thoughts. Cherry Tree provides brilliant, critical, and honest journalism and podcasts. We do not have the answers, but we do believe they are out there. That is the fuel that powers our search for the IDEAL.
“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something...We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely....We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
President and Founder
719 Washington Place
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States of America
Interested in starting your own IDEAL chapter? Have questions about donating to IDEAL? Have comments about the content on the site? Feel free to send a message and we will get back to your as soon as possible!