Sifting & Winnowing began as a student journal affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Political Science, and has since grown into an organization that plans an annual academic conference, publishes student academic writing, and works tirelessly to foster student involvement in the policy-making process.

“Whatever may be the limitations that trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless Sifting and Winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”

University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1894

Our organization embodies the twin traditions of Sifting & Winnowing and the Wisconsin Idea, and we believe that Wisconsin’s historical commitment to truth-seeking, academic freedom, and contributions to community make it an ideal place for students to share and refine their ideas while keeping our state at the forefront of civic dialogue.

“I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every family of the state.”

Charles Van Hise, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin

The Sifting & Winnowing Foundation is a tax-exempt organization that works to support these student programs. Our leadership includes alumni and current student leadership of Sifting & Winnowing programs like the Ideas Conference, Journal of Public Affairs, and CKA Studios. We partner with a number of other organizations, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Political Science, the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, the Thompson Center on Public Leadership, and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

If you are interested in learning more about us, please contact Sig at