Change Starts with YOU!
Change Starts with YOU!
When thinking about federal science policy, you may feel like your voice is only a tiny drop in the vast ocean of opinions, policies, and regulations. But you can be an agent for change on the issues that matter most to you. The suggestions below will help get you started and take part in our nation's science policy dialog. Visit www.spscongress.org/change for even more suggestions.
Write your member of Congress
This may seem like a cliché, but in reality only a very small percentage (<5%) of Americans write to their member of Congress every year. Many members of Congress consider responding to constituent mail to be a very important part of their job. Tell them what's important to you!
Mobilize other people for your cause
The old adage "the more the merrier" has never been truer than in the case of writing to your member of Congress. How can your members of Congress represent their community if they don't know what you think about issues that are important to you? Start a chain reaction of science advocacy!
Meet your members of Congress or their staff
Get to know the people who are your official voice in national affairs. Help them put a face to your name and tell your story in person. This will help your elected representatives more effectively speak for you. You may meet their staff instead. That's okay. Staff members can help you get your message to their boss.
Do a policy-related internship
Learn about the policy-making process from the inside. Broadening your understanding of science policy decision-making will make you more effective as a citizen-advocate and as a scientist who will have to interface regularly with the federal government.
Do not underestimate the value of being in Washington, DC, and networking with the many people who work in science policy. Regardless of what career path you choose, it will likely be to your advantage to know a wide range of people embedded in the science policy infrastructure of the United States.
Keeping up to date on what's happening in Congress and in the president's administration will help you determine effective actions you can take to promote your views.
This call to action was originally drafted by Anna Quider (see her article "Know Thyself") to accompany the workshop she co-led at the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress.