Proposal final draft due Sunday

Jeff Kupperman's picture

The final draft of your proposal is due Sunday, Nov 17, at 11:59 PM. The formal proposal language and all parts of the proposal document must be complete by that time.

You should have a full draft of your proposal done NOW and you should be working on refining it so that it is complete and finished by Nov 17. Once we get into the rating and platform discussion period, you will not be allowed to edit your proposal, so make sure you work on it now.

The formal proposal should be SPECIFIC about what you are asking the state TO DO (make or change a law, create a regulation, start a program, implement a policy, etc.), not just “people should do such and such.”

The formal proposal is everything under the FORMAL PROPOSAL headline in your proposal doc, including:

  • Preambulatory (“Whereas”) clauses

  • Operative (“Resolved”) clauses

  • Counter-arguments

  • Costs and funding

  • References

Again, ALL SECTIONS of your proposal doc must be completed by Nov 17 (including consultations). Don’t wait until the last minute -- now is the time to get and give feedback.

Take advantage of the next few days to meet with instructors or topic coordinators during office hours or online for feedback and guidance. Look in the Events listings for TC and faculty office hours. Note: “The Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator” section of your proposal should reflect an in-person or phone conversation with a TC.

A word of advice:

Each operative clause of a MSC proposal must do one of these three things:

  • Require something

  • Permit something

  • Forbid something

Avoid, therefore, words like “should” or “would” as much as possible -- these indicate “wishful thinking” rather than something concrete that the state can implement.

Bad example:

Therefore be it resolved:

….The government should not let people smoke on public sidewalks.

Better example:

Therefore be it resolved:

  1. Smoking on public sidewalks in downtown areas of cities with more than 10,000 residents will be considered a criminal misdemeanor. 

  2. Funding from the state police highway patrol will be reallocated for this purpose at the rate of $1.50 per resident of affected cities per year.

Another word of advice:

Your operative clauses should focus on ONE solution (which can have different related components and details) -- they should not be a menu of different solutions.


  • Get more consultations, especially -- and importantly -- talking DIRECTLY with people on the phone or in person. The most successful proposals in the past have been informed by direct conversations with people who have special knowledge of the issue.

  • Flesh out the details of your proposal (exactly *what* you are asking the state to do and how).

  • Work on a good budget estimate -- how much will this cost to implement in total, and where will the money come from?

  • Explore in more depth what state laws and programs exist now that relate to your proposal.

  • Explore “devil’s advocate” perspectives and potential counter-arguments.

  • Get the language right in your “Whereas” and “Therefore” clauses -- look to the fall 2018 platform as a model.

  • Use the discussion areas to ask for input and advice from your MSC peers on aspects of your proposal that you are struggling with, and to get feedback on specific ideas.

  • Continue giving feedback to others, and help your MSC peers to do all of the above.