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Leadership, Government, and Politics

Students at Washington University develop themselves as leaders through involvement in elected positions as well as through their involvement in extracurricular leadership opportunities. WashU offers several leadership development programs, scholarships, and ways to get involved, and campus is a great place for politics and social action. Students learn and grow from interaction with the variety of different student backgrounds and perspectives represented at WashU.

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics seeks to deepen academic and public understanding of religion and politics in the United States.

The Center serves as an ideologically neutral venue for fostering rigorous scholarship and informing broad academic and public communities about the intersections of religion and U.S. politics. The Center's commitments are to support and enhance outstanding scholarly research on the historical and contemporary intertwining of religion and politics, to disseminate excellent scholarship to students and the broad public by means of courses, lectures, and conferences, and to foster debate and discussion among people who hold widely different views about religion and/or politics.

For additional programs and offerings, please visit the individual schools' websites and the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement website.

Student Union

Student Union (SU) is Washington University's undergraduate student government. SU has two primary functions:

  • Allocating the Student Activity Fee to engaging activities, programs, and initiatives.
  • Representing the student body in the administration's decision-making process, ensuring that students have a voice in the academic and social decisions that directly affect them.

SU comprises five executive officers: the President, the Vice President of Administration, the Vice President of Finance, the Vice President of Programming, and the Vice President of Public Relations, as well as two legislative bodies, the Treasury, which consists of representatives elected at large, and the Senate, which consists of representatives elected from each undergraduate school.

For more information, please visit the Student Union website.

School and Class Councils

Each undergraduate school and class has its own council that works within Student Union. School Councils present student input to each undergraduate school administration and provide academic and social programming, including the annual dance parties: Bauhaus Ball, sponsored by the Architecture School Council, and Vertigo, sponsored by EnCouncil (the engineering school council). Class Councils provide social programming, including Sunday on the Swamp and Senior Week.

More information can be found on the Undergraduate Council website.

Congress of the South 40

The Congress of the South 40 (CS40) works on programming for undergraduate students living on the South 40 and functions as a governing body that presents student input about the residential operations to the administration.

CS40 comprises five executive officers: the Speaker, the Director of Development, the Director of Services, the Director of Finance, and the Director of Public Relations.

The other aspects of CS40 are the 150-member General Assembly; nine individual committees, each chaired by an appointed officer; and 10 College Councils, which provide programming for individual residential colleges.

For more information, please visit the CS40 website.

Student Involvement and Leadership

The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership is dedicated to helping students develop as leaders during their time at WashU. Their office helps each student find ways to both learn about and practice leadership. WashU believes that leadership is more than a position you hold – it’s about the positive change you help create.

For more information and a list of programs, events, and resources, please visit the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership's website.

Campus Politics

Students can pick their party, or explore other options, through the variety of campus political groups. Groups such as College Democrats, College Republicans, and the Young Americans for Liberty (College Libertarians) engage students in current issues and promote political action on local and national levels. Through these groups, students can get involved in local campaigns and advocacy groups to help make a difference in the community. In addition, Washington University has been the site of a number of official U.S. Presidential debates over the years.

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