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Endowments at UVA

Politics Under Pressure

The Center for Politics, founded by University Professor Larry J. Sabato, is a lively place in any election season, but nothing compares with the energy and excitement that accompanies a presidential election.

“For nearly forty years now, Professor Sabato has taught his students to believe that politics is a good thing,” said Ken Stroupe, chief of staff at the center. “At the center we view every election as a new opportunity to teach the importance of citizen participation in politics and government.”

UVA’s single largest public outreach program and the source of its greatest number of commendations in news publications, the Center for Politics develops teaching resources and public programs to help students of all ages better understand government and participate in American democracy. The center also serves as a premier public venue at UVA for discussing politics, government, and public policy, hosting dozens of lectures, symposia, and public programs throughout the year. In addition, the center conducts research, analysis, and international outreach.

The Center for Politics produces Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a popular nonpartisan weekly online political publication that analyzes current American politics and electoral outcomes. It has grown into one of the most sought-after sources of political analysis in the country and is a reflection of the center’s larger mission to increase civic engagement.

The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), the center’s largest educational program, is dedicated to increasing civic participation and education in schools and communities across the nation.

Thanks to ongoing private support, YLI has become the foremost youth civic education program in the country, developing resources for young people from kindergarten through the 12th grade. This includes the largest student- only online mock election in the nation. YLI is a regular part of the curriculum in tens of thousands of schools nationwide—and millions of students have participated in it over the past decade.

The center also offers need-based scholarships to help students build skills for a career in public service and gain political internships within state and federal government offices. Through the internships, UVA students gain insight while working in the daily rough-and-tumble world of politics. Their experiences enable them to interact with key leaders in the Republican and Democratic parties and learn directly from people who face the real pressures and dilemmas of public life.