Inform. Discuss. Enlighten. Acknowledge. Learn.





IDEAL is a national, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax exempt non profit organization. IDEAL stands for Inform, Discuss, Enlighten, Acknowledge, and Learn, and our goal, ambitious yet simple: change the way students think about politics and interact with each other. There are three pillars of the IDEAL model: IDEAL MEDIA, or CherryTree, a forthcoming publication and podcast; IDEAL CAMPUS, which sponsors student chapters in colleges and high schools across the country; IDEAL COMMUNITY, which works with community partners nationwide to develop and implement in-school, after-school, and adult civic education and community engagement initiatives.


Cherry Tree

IDEAL Media, CherryTree, is the next evolution of IDEAL. Through a publication and a podcast, Cherry Tree produces content that unites academic rigor with accessibility in hopes of revolutionizing the political media model. 

Click below to get involved!



Students are the foundation of IDEAL. Born out of a high school club in 2012, this now national non-profit depends on its students across the country to make real effective change. Our chapter presidents and officers have spent time working on the hill, and our alumni have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships, received national recognition for work they've done, and are attending some of the most prestigious universities and graduate schools in the world. A diverse network of incredible talent, IDEAL CAMPUS is built on, for, and by students who want to make a difference in the world. 

The IDEAL Chapters in each institution help students think critically about important political issues of the day. The chapters employ our unique, philosophy-grounded model, promoting civic discourse with a focus on objectivity, sensitivity, and civility. Each chapter publishes articles, and takes an active role in its respective communities, taking on Community projects that embody the IDEAL mission of changing the way students think about politics and interact with each other. 

Click to learn more about the IDEAL model, our philosophy, and how to start your own chapter! 



Our mission is to change the nature of civic discourse in this country, and each facet of this organization has an important role in doing just that. If CherryTree is the platform for new ideas, and CAMPUS is the environment built for students and scholars to think critically and discuss amongst each other, then it is COMMUNITY that ties this work together. COMMUNITY, the third pillar of IDEAL, is about listening to communities and citizens nationwide, and asking “what can we do to help?” The idea behind community is simple: do what we do best in the ways that we are need. At the intersection of civic education, community engagement, philosophy, politics, art, music, and culture, IDEAL COMMUNITY takes a multifaceted approach to civic engagement by developing in-school, after-school, and adult programming focused on learning from and working with those around us—every community is different, and we trust them to lead the way. Our work means nothing unless we play an active role in the democracy itself. Through COMMUNITY, we can do just that. 


ideal in the news



The organization creates an accessible and inclusive forum that allows students to express their opinions and interact with others. IDEAL does not stop at expression; it encourages its members to embody and create the change that they seek in the world. Given today’s political climate, IDEAL is not a luxury, but a necessity.
— Nick Zito, MBA Candidate, Northeastern University
IDEAL has highlighted the role of productive and substantive dialogue in politics. It provides a framework to overcome political polarization, increase youth civic engagement, and create a norm of rewarding policy decisions based on information rather than political expediency.
— Jamie Starr, Swarthmore College
I am so heartened by IDEAL’s efforts to amplify these ignored voices determined to improve our country and world. IDEAL is a place where I am confident my opinions can add to general discourse, build on new ideas, and feel constructive.
— Hope Dancy, London School of Economics
IDEAL is bar none, the most intellectually engaging student group on campus...Participating in IDEAL events on campus has helped to improve my ability to speak in public, organize events, gather and review source-material, and dialogue productively. 
— Jack Valenti, Johns Hopkins University