Student Advocacy Day
October 24, 2019—Student Advocacy Day is your chance to join forces with fellow CSD students and NSSLHA chapters to make your collective voice be heard.
On this day, we encourage you to connect with your members of Congress about the federal-level issues that are most important to you and the professions.
Message Your Representatives
In just 3 minutes, you can advocate for important issues that'll impact your future:
- Visit ASHA's Take Action website.
- Review the Issues Brief about the issues currently impacting students and early career professionals.
- Click the link to message your members of Congress.
- Enter your zip code and click "Check Zip Code"—the system will automatically identify your members of Congress.
- Add a personal story or message to the pre-populated email.
- Fill out your info.
- Click "Submit" and you're done!
Not sure who your members of Congress are? Visit ASHA's Take Action website, enter your zip code in the right sidebar, and find out!
Whether inviting legislative representatives to your university campus, visiting them at their local office, or traveling to Capitol Hill, there are steps you should take for a successful meeting:
Setting Up a Meeting
- Increase your voice by asking other local and/or related associations to join forces.
- Get approval from your chapter advisor, program director, and university officials (especially if scheduling a campus visit).
- Consider dates your legislators will most likely be available (i.e., when they're working out of their local office versus when they're on Capitol Hill).
- Contact your legislator's local office for local office or campus visits. Then, submit a written meeting request even if you speak to someone on the phone.
- Contact your legislator's Capitol Hill office for visits in Washington, D.C. Submit a written meeting request at least 3 weeks prior to visiting.
- Once your meeting is scheduled, confirm your appointment 1–2 weeks before the date.
- Learn as much as you can about your representative's background—political party, congressional committees they serve on, and personal facts. This can provide insights into their point of view.
- Select one or two issues to focus on.
- Request materials from ASHA's Federal Advocacy Team—including an overview of ASHA's policy priorities, Issue Briefs, and info about the professions specific to your state.
- Be prepared to discuss the details of your issue(s), including how they affect your future patients and the professions.
Day of Your Meeting
- Be punctual, patient, and flexible. Representatives often run late.
- Start by introducing those in attendance. Talk about the audiology and speech-language pathology degrees and professions—don't assume they know what an audiologist or SLP does.
- Introduce your materials and share personal stories about why these issues are important.
- Don't lecture—be straightforward and courteous; be receptive to your legislator's questions and comments. If they don't volunteer their position on the issue, ask!
- If you're asked a question you don't know how to answer, don't guess. Instead, say you'll look into the question and will follow up through email as soon as possible.
- Politely ask them to do something (i.e., "Please protect funding for the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)"). Otherwise, they won't know what you'd like them to help you with.
- If you have an opportunity, take a picture with your representative.
After Your Meeting
- Send a thank you letter re-emphasizing the key points you discussed during the meeting, as well as reiterating your ask.
- Thank everyone who joined you on your visit. Share any pictures that were taken and ask for feedback on how to improve future meetings.
- Let National NSSLHA know about your visit!