The Arneson Institute for Practical Politics and Public Affairs was founded in 1947 by Professor Ben Arneson who had a 36-year career at Ohio Wesleyan University. His vision was summarized in a pledge that all of his students signed which read: “With a view to serving the public interest and regardless of the nature of my future vocation I pledge that, upon leaving college, I will devote a portion of my time to active and definite participation in public affairs.”

Although students today no longer sign pledge cards, Ohio Wesleyan University’s role as a leader in national and international theory and practice remains embodied in Ben Arneson’s favorite quotation from Thomas Jefferson: “Better minds for better politics.” Today, the Arneson Institute features prominent national and international guest speakers on campus; supports interdisciplinary student and faculty research projects involving local, state, national, and international public policy; supports Ohio Wesleyan University’s seminal “Mock Convention,” during which students conduct a presidential nomination process, the oldest such event in the world; as well as supporting Ohio Wesleyan University’s Model United Nations and Moot Court teams. It also supports the Civic Arts Review, a journal focusing on the relationships between education and public life.

The Arneson Institute hosts and manages the “Wesleyan in Washington” program of internship study for Ohio Wesleyan University students. It also facilitates career-long professional contacts and development for Ohio Wesleyan University alumni.

OWU Students Say

Hear from Kate Raulin ’12, who served two internships through the Wesleyan in Washington program and is now in charge of the congressman’s internship program:

Wesleyan in Washington gave me an incredible inside look into how our government works. Through my internships, I was able to witness and learn the intricacies and processes of how our laws are made—things you can never experience in the classroom or learn from a textbook. Because of my WiW experiences, I am continuing the privilege of public service back on Capitol Hill, working for Representative Brad Wenstrup (OH 02).


The Civic Arts Review

The Civic Arts Review, published by the Arneson Institute and OWU Public Affairs, is dedicated to the proposition that education, liberally conceived, is the basis of a free society.

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Arneson Institute Contact Information


Arneson Institute, Elliott Hall 301
Ohio Wesleyan University
S. Sandusky Street
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3777
F 740-368-3644