Stanford in Government (SIG) is a 51-year-old nonpartisan student organization dedicated to creating a culture of civic and political engagement on campus. SIG offers more than 60 fully funded summer fellowships and internship stipends for undergraduates to serve in local, state, national, and international policy offices.
SIG is a registered Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) at Stanford and a Student-Led Affiliate of the Haas Center for Public Service. The center's staff advisor for SIG is Megan Swezey Fogarty.
For more information, visit SIG.
In the winter of 1963, two Stanford students, Jamie Hunter and Armin Rosencranz, started an unpaid summer internship program in Washington, DC with members of Congress. The idea originated with Hunter, a recent graduate of Yale and a Stanford law graduate in 1964. Hunter was encouraged by his grandmother to establish a program offering opportunities to Stanford students to gain valuable experiences and knowledge by interning with members of Congress. Hunter approached Stanford Alumni Association Director Bob Pierce and Associate Director Julia Hirsch '60 for advice. They provided office space and support. Hunter then approached the student body president, Armin Rosencranz, who decided to travel to Washington with a ticket purchased by the ASSU. After a week of knocking on Congressional doors, Rosencranz was able to arrange summer internships with five senators, including Frank Church '47, Lee Metcalf '36, Phil Hart, and with nine U.S. Congressmen. Some of the internships were paid, although most were not.
In March 1963, with support from Director of Development Richard L. Balch, Vice President for Finance Ken Cuthberston, the Stanford Alumni Association, and a $4,400 grant from the William T. Grant Foundation of New York, the group, then known as Stanford in Washington, became the first such program on the West Coast. The internship program expanded rapidly. Within three years, more than 100 students participated in internships in Washington, Sacramento and San Francisco.
The organization was eventually renamed Stanford in Government (SIG). At its founding, SIG was run entirely by students, with a chairperson and nine committee directors. SIG also received assistance from an advisory board of students, alumni and faculty. By 1984, SIG was not only recognized for its internship program but also its campus programming. Members hosted forums, debates and symposia with faculty and government officials; organized a list of public service internships; promoted Stanford applicants in Washington, DC; provided grants from alumni for students who would otherwise be unable to accept an unpaid internship; secured Washington housing through alumni, house-sitting opportunities, and Georgetown University apartments; and sponsored social and educational opportunities in Washington, such as alumni barbeques, happy hours, and speaking events. Through the work of the SIG's Public Policy Forum, a diverse group of distinguished people have spoken at SIG events throughout the years. Speakers include Vice President Walter Mondale, Senator Alan Cranston, Ralph Nader, Senator Eugene McCarthy, Senator Joseph Biden, Senator Paul Tsongas, Lt. Col. Oliver North, Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Attorney General Janet Reno, Jack Valenti, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, and Tibetan Monk Palden Gyatso.
Adapted from May K. Chiang ’05 and Michael Ortiz ‘05