Elena Swartz



Location: Bryn Mawr, PA, United States

    Issues Areas:
  • Voting Rights & Voter Engagement

Campus: Bryn Mawr College - Bryn Mawr, PA

Fellowship Class Year: 2011

Blueprint: Civic Engagement at Bryn Mawr

After attending YP4s first National Vote Summit, Elena was convinced that something similar needed to happen on campus at Bryn Mawr College. Her Blueprint project quickly became about implementing a Civic Empowerment Summit at Bryn Mawr. The Summit provided students with basic information about how students can be a voice for change through vote work on campus and in the community. The Summit was strategically planned for the spring semester, allowing participating students to plan civic engagement activities for the summer and fall semesters.

Featured Fellow Spotlight

YP4: What do you stand for?



YP4: How did you become involved with YP4?

I was recommended by professors at Bryn Mawr.


YP4: What is your Blueprint for Social Justice?

An event for Bryn Mawr college students to learn about more about the issues they were already interested and find ways to make change on them through civic engagement work.


YP4: What has been your greatest achievement so far?

It was personally very fulfilling to work with Mellon Mays undergraduate fellowship. It has been something that has allowed me to mentor others and pass on that information, resources, and insight.


YP4: What motivates and inspires you?

When people I know very well and admire open up about the challenges in their lives.’ It is a very humbling moment and makes me want to keep going.


YP4: What is a main goal that you want to accomplish?

I want to learn how to better serve youth in my hometown; to find ways to give back to that community.


YP4: What is your vision for the world?

That’s a really good question; I want more varied visions for peace and social justice to be put out into the world. I want more people to give different solutions even if they seem impossible and for people to feel ok putting their ideas out there. I want people to have hope and a more flexible idea of what peace and social justice look like.


YP4: How do you feel you fit in to the Progressive Movement?

I see myself as an educator, a connector, and someone who wants to help other people see their possibilities so they can do whatever they can do to help the progress movement. I want to empower people to be able to go protest or write a book, or help change their community.


YP4: What is a struggle that you’ve faced or are facing in your work?

I feel very passionate about a lot of different issues and it has been hard to focus on just one without getting wrapped up. I have had to be conscious of Intersectionality, like many YP4 Fellows.

Dealing with that issue has meant trying to connect very clearly with my values. One of my values that I believe very strongly in liberty; I believe that is something that drives a lot of my work. Once one connects to their core values the work doesn’t seem so overwhelming.


YP4: What advice would you give to the 2012-2013 incoming class of Fellows?

Find a way to be proud of where you are coming from. Know that you are going to learn so much that may alter your perspectives and work. You are going to get so many other viewpoints and that will make you stronger despite being hard at times.


YP4: If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why?

Firework by Katy Perry, preferably on a cat walk


YP4: Is there anything else that you want to say?

It’s been an honor to be a part of YP4 this year and I look forward to the future.