Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

Houston Policy Challenge Student Leadership

Program Overview

Houston Policy Challenge (HPC) is an annual program and competition that lets students learn about and respond to a policy issue facing Houston leaders and residents.  HPC is led by a small team of student coordinators advised by staff from the Center for Civic Leadership.  HPC coordinators collaborate with Rice faculty and community experts, and develop resources, curriculum, and programming that guide participants through issue research, community engagement, reflection, and individualized team advising.  HPC program participants work in teams to develop community-focused policy proposals which they present to a judges’ panel of local leaders in late February. 

The policy issue focus for HPC 2020-21 is CLIMATE CHANGE and ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.


2020-21 HPC Coordinators will grow as civic leaders by:

  • learning deeply about issues of climate change and environmental justice, including specific challenges and current policies in the Houston area.
  • engaging directly with Houston area issue leaders and stakeholders.
  • introducing students from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to civic leadership through an engaged, community-focused approach to advocacy and public policy.
  • designing resources and events that will educate participants about climate change and environmental justice and prepare them to develop their own policy proposals.

HPC coordinator responsibilities begin in summer of 2020 and finish shortly after the competition event in late February 2021.

*note: all summer 2020 responsibilities can be completed remotely, and do not require students to be in residence in Houston.

To learn more, contact Dr. Elizabeth Vann, evann@rice.edu