Frequently Askedd Questions
What separates IDEAL CAMPUS from other CAMPUS political organizations? Particularly GROUPS like a Political Union, College Republicans, and College Democrats?
The difference between IDEAL and most student run political unions that we have seen, is that we are an organization that promotes the active acquisition of knowledge in order to maintain an informed debate, as opposed to simply opening a forum. Our discussions are focused both on being open-minded and learning new perspectives—we encourage students do listen to learn, and do justice to the arguments and ideas involved. The goal of an IDEAL meeting is not simply to listen to a debate. We are entering a debate with source-backed information, as opposed to predetermined opinions. Our discussions are part of our search for an unbiased truth.. It does not matter what you believe, just that your beliefs are backed by information, and that you can confidently speak about them and vote on them!
We are non-partisan, non-affiliated. We do not care who you vote for, but rather that you have all the info to make the best decision you can.
What do I have to do to become a member of IDEAL?
This is a great question! There are a number of ways to get involved with IDEAL. If you are interested in writing for CherryTree, please click here.
If you are interested in collaborating with IDEAL to help you community, please click here.
If you are a high school or college student looking to be a member of your local IDEAL CAMPUS chapter, please click here to see if there is a chapter at your institution. If you do not see one, click here to get in touch with the national office! We would love to help you start one at your institution.
How do I start an IDEAL CHAPTER at my school?
If you are as excited as we are about IDEAL, please use the contact page. You’ll be asked to fill out your name, email, and a brief description of your interest. Make sure to include you institution, city, and state. Also be sure to describe why you are interested in starting an IDEAL Chapter at your school! We look forward to being in touch!
Is there a difference between high school and college chapters?
Yes, but only slightly. Once you apply to become a chapter, you’ll be given a packet that explains, in detail, everything we do and how we do it. This packet will contain a full constitution. There is one constitution built for college chapters, and another designed for high school chapters, and though the differences are small, they are worth noting. On college campuses, we expect that our students have significantly more access to professors and professionals, and thus we allow college chapters to pursue a larger number and a larger variety of events, and stipulate only two INFOs per semester. The writing requirements for college chapters are also greater, and we expect our college chapters to develop long-term, sustainable COMMUNITY projects with community partners. Our high school chapters, on the other hand, are expected to focus on INFOs (a minimum of four per semester), and work diligently to hone their research and writing skills.
One last thing: Are you asking this question because you’d like to bring your high school chapter to your college campus when you graduate? Don’t sweat it! That transition is easy. You’re already a pro, and you’ll know what to do. Please be in touch during this transition, and we will help make sure you have everything you need to start your next IDEAL chapter.
Speaking of INFOs…what is that?
The INFO, our stylized shorthand for “Informed Discussion,” is the patented IDEAL model for civic education and discourse, and it is from this model that the other facets of the organization take shape. The INFO is a deeply philosophical and exegetical exercise that explores a recent political event in extreme detail. Students are given information in advance of the event (periodicals, legislation, and academic articles), and asked to grapple with important and relevant (ethical, political, religious, etc.) questions, in addition to critically analyzing the sources addressing these questions. The aim of the INFO is to address current events, giving students a timely and much needed place to think deeply and critically about the often-overwhelming news that surrounds national and international problems. Members of the IDEAL Chapter prepare a topic for the event, send out articles, write short briefs, and provide background at the outset of the discussion. Additionally, attendees are invited to bring in articles that span the gamut of political opinions. We hope that the different backgrounds and experiences in the room will color the discussion—we ask our students both to embrace these differences in opinion, theirs and others’, while working to understand their own biases. We do not make assumptions, and we listen to understand, not to argue. We have found that this thought process helps to foster an academic environment, and engenders an often personal, and deeply insightful dialogue. Surely, the INFO is not absent emotion or opinion, but by focusing on ideas and policy, rather than parties and people, an intellectually rigorous, civil discussion is given air to breathe. The meticulous planning that goes into the INFO, and the support from IDEAL Chapter members in the room, also helps to ensure the success of the event: we have moderators, facilitators, and fact checkers on site for every event—both encouraging freedom of thought, and working to ensure the discussion is grounded in information.