Student Advocacy Day: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is the act of an individual constituent communicating ideas and opinions to government officials (Representatives, Senator, and agency personnel). Grassroots advocacy is expecially effective when may individuals visit government officials to express similar sentiments.
Will the Representative or Senator be interested in meeting with me?
Yes. Constituents' priorities are important to legislators. It is you who votes and will either help re-elect them to another term in office, or help elect someone else to take their place. Even as a student you are the professional, an expert in your field, and a constituent. As the knowledgeable person on communication disorders, you can best explain to them how particular legislation affects you and the special populations that you serve.
How soon should I set up the meetings?
If requested by your organizer to make appointments with your legislators, you should set them up as soon as possible. Representatives and Senators have very busy schedules. The earlier you set up the meeting, the more likely they will be able to meet with you at your most convenient time.
What should I say?
The initial goal of your communication with your state legislator is to establish a personal connection. The second goal may be to supply the legislator with some facts and professional insights on issues of concern to your profession, school or the populations you serve. You will be given all the information and materials you need at the briefing scheduled before your visits.
How long should the meeting be?
The meeting can often be completed in 15 minutes, although they may go long as 30 minutes.
What should I bring with me?
You should bring a copy of the issue brief or other designated materials supplied by the State Association to leave with your Representative/Senators. Note paper and a pen for notes to those legislators you miss is also helpful.
What should I wear?
You should dress appropriately for walking. Please also dress professionally, as you will be seen as a representative of your school and your profession.
What should I bring?
Be prepared to display a valid photo identification (e.g., driver's license). Please allow extra time to pass through any security and long lines. Travel light, as packages, purses, and briefcases may need to pass through and x-ray machine.
What follow-up should I do?
Write a thank you note after the meeting. If appropriate, two weeks later, write an email to the Representative or Senator asking if they have taken any action on the requests you made at the meeting.