Collectively, student affairs professionals represent thousands of voices; working together we can make a powerful impression with policymakers on behalf of our students and our profession. Engaging with our representative democracy is essential to maintaining the health and function of our nation’s government, which is why NASPA invites you to take part in the National Student Affairs Day of Action on March 12, 2019. No matter your position, title, or area of expertise, as a student affairs professional there are a myriad of ways you can – and should – engage in public policy conversations for the benefit of you, your students, and your institution.
While #SAadvocates are active year-round, we’re working to prepare up-to-date resources and tools that will make it easy for experienced advocates and beginners alike to take part in #NSADA19. Whether you are just getting started on your journey to becoming an engaged participant or have been active for some time, NASPA has compiled resources and suggestions for learning and engaging in local, state, and national policy conversations. We know advocacy in public policy can seem like a tricky topic, and we’ve prepared these resources to provide comprehensive tools and talking points to learn, engage, and represent. This post will describe the key types of resources that will be available in early March and how you can use them during this year’s National Student Affairs Day of Action!
Learn about key issues by checking out background briefs or posts on the NASPA RPI blog. Visit again in early March for background briefs reviewing the latest updates on key public policy issues facing student affairs professionals. Briefs will be available on topics including sexual assault prevention and response, immigration, Higher Education Act reauthorization, trans and gender non-binary student rights, international students, free speech on college campuses, and accessibility issues. In the meantime, feel free to check out the NASPA Public Policy Agenda for links to our recent blog posts on a wide variety of topics, including many we’ll feature as part of the National Student Affairs Day of Action!
Engage with your elected officials at the state and national level using NASPA’s position statements and sample letters as a script. We’ll provide letter templates that you can customize with references to specific legislation in your state or under consideration by Congress. Whether you’re working to organize a letter writing campaign for your campus or want to reach out as an individual, your representatives want to hear from you. If you’ll be at the 2019 NASPA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, you will even be able to drop off any letters you want to send to your elected officials in the NASPA Engagement Booth. We’ll cover the postage to get it mailed out!
Want to engage with members of your community more directly? Why not sponsor a deliberative forum on your campus using the National Issues Forum Institute “A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want?” issue guide? In productive deliberation, people examine different options for addressing a difficult public problem, weighing various actions against the things they hold deeply valuable. The House Divided issue guide presents three options for participants to discuss how to move through the increasing political polarization happening in our communities and on our campuses. It’s a great way to get people to talk with each other instead of at each other.
Attending #NASPA19? Be sure to represent your interests at the NASPActs Policy Pop-ups throughout the day Monday and Tuesday! The NASPActs Committee of the Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Division will present five 10-15 minute pop-up sessions during the 2019 NASPA Annual Meeting where you can get a bite-sized update on issues including immigration, trans inclusion, civic engagement and more. Not able to join us in Los Angeles? You can still catch the NASPActs Policy Pop-ups on sexual assault prevention and response and accessibility on NASPA’s Facebook page on Tuesday, March 12.
The resources provided for #NSADA19 are free and specifically tailored for student affairs professionals. We encourage you to share your activity among #SAadvocates, friends, and colleagues alike and don’t forget to model good civic engagement by spreading the word to your colleagues and students. Share resources and information across your social media networks and let other #SAadvocates know what you’re doing to support students on March 12, 2019, for #NSADA19!
Student affairs professionals see first-hand both the triumphs and the struggles of students in ways that few other campus administrators do. Won’t you join #SAadvocates around the country on #NSADA19 to share your expertise and insight with policymakers?