Ivy Policy Conference

University of Pennsylvania

April 8-10 / 2016

Hosted by Ivy Council

 Program   Ivy Policy Report 

Conference Overview Video


The Ivy Policy Conference is an annual conference hosted every spring by the Ivy Council. IPC emphasizes in-depth, candid conversation on public policy solutions to the social, intellectual, political, and cultural issues facing today’s college students. Ivy League schools take turns hosting IPC on their respective campuses.


Douglas B. Shaw

Jon Marcus

Charles Murray

Marjorie Margolies


8PM Registration
9AM Breakfast
9:30AM Opening Ceremony
10AM Speaker 1
11AM Lunch and Speaker 2
12:30PM Breakout Session 1
1:30PM Group Photo
2PM Speaker 3
3PM Breakout Session 2
4PM Speaker 4
5PM Refreshments
5:30PM Breakout Session 3
6:30PM Dinner
9:30AM Breakfast
10AM State of the Ivy
11:30AM Closing Ceremony

Breakout Sessions

Social Selectivity: Elitism in the Ivy League
The term “Ivy League” has long evoked images of exclusivity, embodied in close-knit, highly selective societies that still exist on all eight Ivy campuses. What encourages various Ivy League student groups to maintain degrees of selectivity? In a political atmosphere keenly aware of unequal privilege, what effect does exclusivity within the Ivy League have on the collective public image of the “elite” Ivies?

The First Generation: Integrating the New
There are approximately 4.5 million first-generation college students on American campuses today. What can the Ivies, with their vast resources and large talent pools, do to better support the needs of the first-generation students? How should individual schools think about first-generation students as a group?

Delegation of Responsibility: Who Should Combat Socioeconomic Inequality?
Virtually every policymaker, political candidate, and college student today agrees that inequality is bad, but how do we actually go about eliminating it? Who exactly should lead the fight against socioeconomic inequality? As future leaders of society, Ivy League students need to think about who bears the responsibility of tackling this issue in the future.

Affirmative Action: Based on What?
Although popularly thought of in the context of race, affirmative action could benefit virtually any disadvantaged group in America (and there’s lots of them). How did race become the agreed-upon basis for affirmative action? Is it the best basis? Or could affirmative action be better applied towards another metric of inequality like gender or wealth?
Rape Culture: Administrators’ Response to Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault happens every day on every college campus. But when discussions turn to sex, many people find the topic taboo and avoid the conversation, leaving many victims embarrassed and prompting many to hide their stories for fear of being ignored. How can the Ivies break the residual silence on this issue, reorganize how administrators address these cases, and finally discipline the perpetrators involved?

LGBTQ Issues: Continuing Awareness and Education
Many people know the term “LGBTQ” and know someone who identifies with one of these groups, but individuals who do not identify as such may have a trouble directly identifying with, relating to, and talking about these issues. How can the Ivies keep promoting frank, respectful, and issue-aware advocacy and support for the LGBTQ community?

Mental Health Awareness: Eliminating the Stigma of Getting Help
Mental health awareness has exploded on college campuses. Access, misinformation, and commonly-held stigmas, however, remain obstacles moving forward. How can Ivy League universities make mental health care more accessible on campus? When someone breaks a leg, they tend to seek physical treatment without hesitation; so why is it different when something happens to the brain? We want to make this an issue that every student on every campus is comfortable talking about.

Gender in the Classroom: How Does Gender Influence Academic Choices?
Despite it being the 21st century, people still associate specific genders with certain professions, and gender imbalance exists in numerous academic majors and disciplines. How does this influence academic pursuits and eventual career choices?
Political Correctness: Free Speech, Race, and the Ivy League
Cultural sensitivity and political correctness are hot topics on Ivy League minds right now, fuelled by controversies like the Phi Delt Christmas card episode at Penn, Yale’s SAE scandal, and the arrest of a student attending the Latinx Ivy League Conference at Brown. In light of these events, how should Ivy League campuses balance the need to protect their students with the importance of free speech? Universities have long been dedicated to both social justice activism and open intellectualism; can today’s world handle both?

Religious Tolerance: Understanding Faith in the Ivies
Although many Ivy League students today are not especially religious, all eight Ivies still have strong religious student communities. Religion and politics can become heated subjects and require careful consideration of facts and context. How are different religions are perceived and understood by Ivy students? How can we improve inclusiveness, tolerance, and cultural awareness on Ivy campuses?

Mixing: Microaggressions and Micro-Integration??
For students of color, adjusting to college means confronting issues of wealth, academics, and race. What are the biggest challenges to adjustment? Microaggressions and integration play a central role in shaping students’ early personal experiences in college. How should Ivy League universities, in particular, consider these experiences; and how can the Ivies make these transitions easier?

What does it mean to be an Ivy League activist?
Ivy League universities have a long history of imparting students with knowledge and ideas. But for students interested in affecting social change, how should they apply their ideas to contemporary issues? Activists shoulder the delicate challenge of translating research and study into advocacy and practice. How does the Ivy League encourage this development (or not)?

State of the Ivy Panelists


Jane Meyer



Aleksandra Czulak



Dari Seo



Mitchell McBride



Yuki Inaba



Piyushi Bishnoi



William Greenlaw



Sydney Wade


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ivy Council?
The Ivy Council is a non-profit organization comprised of student leaders from all eight Ivy League universities. Its mission is to promote inter-campus communication and collaboration between the student governments of its member schools. Through its various conferences and programs throughout the year, the Ivy Council provides a platform to build a unified voice representing the diverse student bodies of the Ivy League.

What is the Ivy Policy Conference?
The Ivy Policy Conference (IPC) is an annual conference hosted every spring by the Ivy Council. IPC emphasizes in-depth, candid conversation on public policy solutions to the social, intellectual, political, and cultural issues facing today’s college students. Ivy League schools take turns hosting IPC on their respective campuses.
When will applications be open?
Applications will be open around late February, early March.

I am not interested in politics. Can I still apply?
Yes! You do not need to be a political junkie to attend IPC. IPC is about discussing solutions to real-world college problems. An interest in politics is welcome but not necessary.

Will there be a conference fee?
Transportation and Housing

I am travelling to Penn from another school. When should I arrive in Philly?
Registration will take place on Friday, April 8, from 6:00-8:00pm. All delegations are strongly encouraged to arrive by 8pm on Friday. However, members of the IPC planning team at Penn will be on standby throughout the night in case conference attendees arrive later in the evening.

I am travelling to Penn from another school. Where can I stay while I’m in Philly?
Penn’s IPC planning team will arrange free housing at Penn for all non-Penn conference attendees. Attendees who need housing will stay with a Penn student who lives on or within walking distance of the University of Pennsylvania campus. (may need to bring sleeping bag)


Will food be provided at IPC?
All conference attendees receive complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner on Saturday, as well as breakfast on Sunday.