August means one thing in the policy world – members of Congress returning home!
During the month of August, members of Congress leave Washington and return to their home districts to meet with constituents. The “August recess” is an invaluable opportunity for students and researchers to have face-to-face meetings with their members of Congress and discuss the important and exciting research being done in their own backyards.
This summer, ASA, CSSA & SSSA are challenging our members to schedule 50 meetings during the month of August, one in every state. To prepare new advocates for this challenge, the Science Policy Office has updated our Advocacy Toolkit, where we provide informational materials and talking points that you can use in your meetings to show Congress just how valuable food, agriculture and natural resources research is. We will also be hosting a series of webinars on the basics of science policy and how to schedule and lead a Congressional meeting.
The message for the August Challenge meetings is simple:
- See the benefits of research funding in your state
- Support federal research investments
- Support USDA research programs: ARS and AFRI
While we encourage you to use these items in your meetings, the most important part of the August Challenge is to tell Congress about the research going on right in their districts and states.
Not only are district meetings an invaluable opportunity to let your members of Congress know what kind of research you’re doing, it’s also one of the most effective ways to establish a relationship with your Member and their staff. While the Science Policy Office staff can meet with Congressional offices here in Washington, there is really nothing more powerful than individual constituents reaching out their Congressional offices.
If you are interested in scheduling a district meeting in August, email the Science Policy Office at firstname.lastname@example.org with “August Challenge” in the header. We will then email you back with instructions on how to schedule your meeting.
Now is a critical time for scientists to engage in advocacy and reach out to their members of Congress. Only with YOUR participation can we make this new advocacy activity a success and secure a bright future for our sciences!