The Washington Bus Fellowship Application for 2020 is now open. Apply here.
The Bus Fellowship is an intensive, intentional, and transformative experience for young folks age 18-25 who are ready to inspire change alongside their communities.
Over the course of ten weeks, Fellows learn from progressive experts from across the state, run the most innovative, effective, and fun civic programs in Washington State, and collaborate with community organizations and issue campaigns for hands-on organizing experience. Fellows are paid a stipend of $1000/ month over the course of the Fellowship.
For information regarding the Fellowship or questions about the application process please contact our Fellowship Coordinator, Mo Pannier. Mo can be reached at email@example.com or (303) 588-904.
The priority deadline for applications is April 1st, 2020 at 11:59 PST. Applications will be accepted until April 22nd, 11:59 PST. We encourage applicants to apply as early as possible as the application process becomes increasingly competitive with each deadline.
See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
The Washington Bus is thrilled to announce that we have named our two Co-Executive Directors. After much anticipation, please join us in welcoming Cinthia Illan-Vazquez, Co-Executive Director for Policy and Program, and Kelly Hickman, Co-Executive Director for Operations and Development! Throughout the search and selection process, both Kelly and Cinthia emerged as the best leaders for our organization and to support our powerful team. Their leadership couldn’t come at a more perfect time. As we move into an important election cycle, we are excited to strengthen our movement of engaging young people in civic life and to lead with strong anti-racist, inclusive, and equitable values. We are grateful to the entire Bus community for your support throughout this process. The Board of Directors would like to extend a special thank you to the Washington Bus staff, Annie, Danny, Leila, Libby, Mo, and Xinyu, and our Interim Executive Director, Amy Wasser, for their excellent work during this transition period.
Cinthia and Kelly will begin their new positions together on Wednesday, March 4th and look forward to being in touch with you. Their contact info can be found on our staff page. Put your party hats on — we’ll be announcing a party in their honor soon!
Cinthia (she/her/ella) joins the Bus from her role as Community Engagement Manager at the Center for Education Results where she led and supported various community engagement efforts and strategies. Her drive to bring access and equity to our political and civic process solidified when she was a Fellow and, later, the Fellowship Coordinator at the Bus. Previously, Cinthia served as legislative assistant to current Speaker of the Washington State House of Representatives Laurie Jinkins, and as a community organizer with the Washington Dream Coalition, an undocumented and youth-led advocacy organization. She believes in the importance of people-centered movements aimed at dismantling systems of oppression through policy. Cinthia is excited to leverage her skills to amplify the Bus’s mission. Away from the office, she enjoys outdoor activities that connect her to the indigenous lands we are occupying.
Kelly (she/her/hers) joins the Bus from her previous role as Assistant Director at the Missions Office of the Archdiocese of Seattle. She is a highly collaborative and passionate leader with nearly eight years of nonprofit co-directing experience inspiring people to meaningful civic action. She is deeply committed to building inclusive strategies to create a more equitable society for everyone. She holds a Master’s degree in Transforming Spirituality from Seattle University. Kelly is a third generation Seattleite who grew up in north Seattle. Away from the office, she spends lots of time with family and friends, snuggling her cat Leeloo, and dollhousing.
Seferiana Day, Washington Bus Board President
Aaron Robertson, Washington Bus Education Fund Board President
Election szn is here!
We have said goodbye to our Summer Fellows, Candidate Survivor gowns, and Capitol Hill Block Party gear for the year. Don’t worry — things are far from winding down. High school and college campus voter registration drives are in full-swing and we are here for it. Bus staff and volunteers took over Western Washington University for Move-In Weekend. In partnership with Western Votes, a student-led organization, we registered 1,700 students to vote in just three days. As incoming students grabbed their dorm keys, our team ensured they updated their voter information to receive their ballots at their current mailing address. Many students registered for the first time!
Why register students to vote on college campuses? Registering college students every year is a major way to drive up voter turnout among young people. We need to be meeting students where they are. Despite Washington’s newly extended voter registration deadline of October 28th, students will still need to update their information if they moved over the summer. Since a majority of university students are renters, this is an important effort.
We want to make it easy to register to vote. Many students are juggling school with work (sometimes more than one job) and family responsibilities. More and more student organizations are investing in civics education and voter registration to amplify the voices in their communities. And guess what? It’s working. Last year, midterm turnout for young voters (ages 18-29) is up to 31% — that’s millions more than in 2014.
Civic engagement brings together communities on campus. Voter registration efforts like Western Votes attract students from various of backgrounds, majors, and political passions. Western Votes alum, Ari Winter, explains, “Coming to Western was easier for me because I had other passionate folks volunteering around me. Western Votes has been a transformational experience for me as a student, voter, activist, and human being.” This is why we do the work we do: youth-led movements are powerful and deserve support.
We believe our democracy works best when everyone can participate. Good things happen when elected officials know who’s voting. Young voters who advocate for affordable housing, climate justice, reproductive justice and more can make a real difference in their legislators’ priorities. In just the last two weeks, the Bus has registered more than 700 high school students to vote — now we want to turn that energy into turnout in November.
Sound like fun and you want to volunteer? Or, do you want to run your own voter registration drive? Reach out to Emma Scalzo at emma[at]washingtonbus[dot]org.
Seattle City Council elections are coming up! Candidate forums are a great way to get to know your district candidates, what their platforms are, and how they will work for the people if elected. Candidate forums provide constituents the chance to ask questions and create a space for conversation about the wants of the people and the goals of those that are running for elected office. To get young people involved in this political process, it’s important to make these forums free, well-advertised, and designed to engage and encourage the public to vote.
Organizing candidate forums that make politics exciting and engaging specifically for young people is a huge part of increasing young voter turnout and making the political arena a more accessible space. I benefit from candidate forums as settings where I can be comfortable approaching candidates directly. Being at forums with other young people is an easy way for me to learn about the stances of candidates on the issues that I care about. Ultimately, forums help me better choose who I should vote for. Youth-oriented candidate forums also let candidates know about the issues that young people in their district care about and gives them an opportunity to speak to them directly about their platform. Overall, candidate forums for young people that subvert traditional forums will get young people more involved in politics, which is what the Bus is all about!
– Emily Fortier, Fellowship Class of 2019