Political Participation

Bowen Institute on Political Participation

Since 1981, the Institute on Political Participation, the original component of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, has enabled more than 1,000 Indiana students and citizens to hone their skills in political contribution and civic engagement. Participants engage with public officials, members of the media, political analysts and private sector leaders at intensive two-day sessions.

Political participation is a vital part of every community. The Bowen Center for Public Affairs believes you can make a difference by becoming:

  • Involved in the process
  • Engaged in service
  • Knowledgeable about the issues

The annual Bowen Institute on Political Participation is an intense two-day weekend workshop. Participants who have been nominated to attend have shown an interest in government and politics, but have not participated at a very high level.

The objective is to heighten the individuals’ interest in civic engagement and enhance the skills they will use to become involved. The hands-on program focuses on the issues involved in being an engaged and effective participant in the public sector.

Awarded the Earl T. Shinhoster Award by the Indiana NAACP for pioneering work in civic education, the Institute draws speakers and presenters from across the
political spectrum.

 2018 Participants – Held at Barnes & Thornburg Law Offices




Testimonials from Alumni of the Bowen Institute on Political Participation

“I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2014 Bowen Center for Public Affairs Institute on Public Participation in Indianapolis. Throughout a two-day session, we heard from speakers on a range of topics such as how to become engaged in civics and how to encourage others to join. That is no easy feat. We consider half of the electorate voting an accomplishment while other democracies enjoy 80 percent + turnouts. Leaders hold community meetings and only a handful show and usually it’s only to complain. Don’t believe in the system? Change it. Major reform usually happens when after a deep slumber the nation comes together to enact change, and it’s about time we all wake up. This is why I am pursuing political journalism. I want to inform others about what’s going on in government and hopefully see them participate in ANY fashion. Your civic duty doesn’t have to be in public office or even in the public sector, but let me assure you – it doesn’t begin and end with your high school civics class.”

Payne Horning
BSU student majoring in Political Science, Journalism and Telecommunications


“I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2015 Bowen Center for Public Affairs Institute on Public Participation in Indianapolis. I was able to meet public officials, members of the media, and political analysts. In addition, I networked with other classmates in a fun learning environment. My interests and skills in civic engagement have been enhanced because of this Institute and I am happy to report I am more involved in my community. I would strongly recommend the Bowen Institute on Political Participation; I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.”      

Keith Chandler, Proposal Manager, Sponsored Project Administration, Ball State University
MA in Executive Development for Public Service