With Student Advocacy Day coming up on October 10, you have a chance to join forces with other CSD students and NSSLHA chapters across the country to make your collective voice be heard on federal issues that’ll impact you now as a student and in the future as a professional!
Nervous about contacting your members of Congress? Don’t be! Check out what these chapters did last year to advocate for the issues that were most important to them:
Anyone can get involved in grassroots advocacy at the state level—yep, this means you! All you have to do is learn about the issues, contact your legislators, and tell them your story. These 2017-18 Gold and Silver Chapter Honors recipients made a real impact in their states:
- Idaho State University, Meridian: In 2011, legislators in Idaho terminated Medicaid’s coverage of audiology services for adults 21 and older. Chapter members wanted to advocate for change, so they scheduled meetings with their legislators months in advance, learned key talking points from the audiology representative at their state association, and talked with their legislators about the psychological, social, and economic effects this law was having on their clients.
- University of Nebraska, Omaha: In preparation for the state association’s legislative day, this chapter coordinated a social media competition for students from all three Nebraska University campuses. Students created an audiology- or speech-language pathology–focused meme that was posted on social media—followers voted for their favorite!
- Maryville University: This chapter joined the state association’s legislative day and headed to their state capitol to encourage legislators to vote “no” on a bill that would allow music therapists to diagnose speech and language disorders. They also discussed a bill about giving hearing aids to certain eligible populations.
- Southeastern Louisiana University: After the chapter learned about recent state Medicare legislation, members wrote 50+ letters to their state legislators to express their concern for the current therapy caps. In these letters, the members implored legislators to allow patients more access to necessary therapy.
- University of Central Missouri: To prepare for their state association’s legislative day, this chapter sponsored an event called Legislative Webinar Watch, where they listened to the state association president and others explain current bills affecting the professions and the process of passing bills through both chambers of Congress. Once the members were prepped, 60 students headed to their state capitol and raised awareness.
- Western Michigan University: This chapter hosted an advocacy table at their state’s annual conference, including a laptop for attendees to electronically sign petitions related to the professions.
You’re entering a profession that can be affected by decisions made by federal legislatures. Your goal should be to raise awareness of current issues with these legislatures; make them real by including your own personal stories. These 2017-18 Gold and Silver Chapter Honors recipients really nailed it at the federal level:
- California State University, Fullerton: Last fall, 7 chapter members flew to Washington, D.C., to participate in Student Advocacy Day—visiting their representatives’ offices and sharing important insights about the professions and clients whom they’ll one day serve.
- California State University, Sacramento: This chapter created a new Advocacy Officer position for their board. Then, they empowered members by giving them step-by-step instructions on how to use ASHA’s Take Action website. Finally, they invited the District 2 Director from their state association to speak about the importance of advocacy.
- Marywood University: About 85 students of this chapter participated in last Student Advocacy Day by submitting letters through ASHA’s Take Action website. They increased awareness of the EHDI Reauthorization Bill, the Protect Healthcare in Tax Reform Debate, and Tax Deductions for Tuition in the Tax Reform Debate.
- Nova Southeastern University: Members of this mostly online chapter don’t let distance learning get in their way of speaking up. Each semester, members hop onto ASHA’s Take Action website and contact their legislators on key issues. To highlight their achievement, members take selfies while holding a “Use Your Voice” sign!
Regardless of how you get involved, get involved! Do it on your own; do it as a group through your NSSLHA chapter or CSD program. Any way you choose, speak up and be heard!