As future audiologists and speech-language pathologists, you’re going to spend a lot of time being an advocate—for your clients, for their care, and for the treatments you propose.
So, whether you have lots of time to plan a larger effort or have just a few minutes to do something quick, it’s important for you to start advocating now as a student, so you’re more prepared as a professional.
Check out these ideas to let your voice be heard on Student Advocacy Day—October 24, 2019:
Submit a Take Action Letter
In just 3 minutes you can advocate for issues that’ll impact your future:
- Hop over to the student section of ASHA’s Take Action website
- Review the Issue Briefs about issues currently impacting students and early career professionals
- Click the “Students: Contact your members of Congress” link
- Fill in your info—the system automatically identifies your members of Congress
- Add a personal story or message in the pre-populated letter
- Click “submit” and you’re done!
During last year’s Student Advocacy Day (and Virtual Advocacy Day in the Spring), we united our voices and sent more than 10,000 letters—wow!!
Spread Awareness of Issues Concerning the Professions
Many students aren’t even aware of the issues that will impact them as professionals. So, once you submit your Take Action letter, share your knowledge with fellow students.
Don’t let awareness stop there. Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #StudentAdvocacyDay!
Activities That Take Some Planning
Organize a Chapter Event
Advocating is more fun when you do it as a group! So why not organize a potluck or set aside time during a chapter meeting for members to submit Take Action letters on their laptops and have a little fun too! It’s a great way for members to talk about their own personal reasons why it’s important for them to advocate.
Need to incentivize your members to participate? Think about offering them a “piece of piece for a piece of their time,” or a donut so they, “donut forget about advocacy.” Because, who doesn’t love food?!
Last year, more than 115 chapters held events to unite their members to advocate for the professions!
Invite Legislators to Your Campus or Visit Them at Your State Capitol
Getting face time with your legislators allows you the opportunity to explain why issues are important to you, your future patients, and your future professions. Here are some tips to get you started in the planning process:
- After getting approval from your NSSLHA chapter advisor, program director, and university officials, reach out to your legislator’s local office to request a visit, then submit a written meeting request.
- Once your meeting is scheduled, confirm your appointment 1-2 weeks before the date.
- Learn as much as you can about your representatives’ background—political party, congressional committees they serve on, and personal facts. This can provide insights into their point of view.
- Select 1 or 2 issues to focus on and do your research. Be prepared to talk about the details of each issue, and include how they affect you, your future patients, and the professions.
- After your meeting, send a thank you letter re-emphasizing key points talked about during the meeting.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you let your voice be heard, it’s just important that you let it be heard!