This week the Policy Blotter brought you a special series of posts of “What we’re watching in 2014”:
While we love bringing you the latest news in the science policy world, we also want to help you advocate for a better and brighter future for researchers. And with the effort of scientists across the nation, we can collectively make a difference. This post is to make you aware of ongoing ASBMB advocacy efforts that you can join. As always, if you have more questions or want to get more involved, please post in the comments or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Advocates Network
In preparing for a busy and exciting 2014, the ASBMB Public Affairs Office is looking to reenlist our Local Advocates Network to expand our grassroots advocacy efforts. The release of “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,” a report outlining the perilous situation currently facing scientists, was covered in a number of national media outlets and tweeted about by President Obama, as well as many other successful events, made 2013 an unforgettable year. But we plan to make this year even better. Upcoming events will include a follow-up to our survey highlighting the funding issues that scientists are facing, an exciting webinar series and more. Sign up today to become a member of the LAN and to participate in our latest and greatest efforts!
ASBMB’s Spring Hill Day
It’s that time again, the time to visit D.C. to speak with your Congressional representatives and better understand how the government operates. This spring, ASBMB will be holding its annual Student-Postdoc Capitol Hill Day on March 31-April 2. Visit our Advocacy Campaigns page on the Policy Blotter to learn more about this event and sign up!
Start your own advocacy group
Looking for a New Year’s resolution? How about starting or joining an advocacy group at your institution? Local chapters, like the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Science Policy Advocacy Group, are starting to pop up across the nation. SPAG’s Secretary, Stephani Page, wrote an article in ASBMB Today laying out how anyone can start their own version of SPAG and how the ASBMB advocacy website and public affairs staff can assist. As more groups start to organize and connect with each other, large efforts can be conducted to advocate on behalf of basic research scientists.
Advocate throughout the year
You don’t have to wait until the 100 meetings challenge or a Hill Day to talk with your Congressional representatives. ASBMB can help you set-up meetings at any time during the year to visit your local district Congressional offices or if you are on a trip to D.C. (traveling on non-federal funds), contact us to help you set-up a meeting while you are in the area. The more Congress hears about an issue from their constituents, the more likely they are to give it a higher priority. Your vote and voice count!
Set-up a lab visit with your Congressional representative
While speaking to Congress is effective, seeing is believing. And many members of Congress do not understand how a lab operates or even how science funding is distributed from the government to individual researchers. Now is your chance to show them. Working with your institution’s government affairs office and staff at your local district Congressional office, you can set-up a visit from Congressional representative or a member of their staff. This is an effective way to humanize scientists and demonstrate how taxpayer’s dollars are going to fund young bright minds in the lab to make scientific breakthroughs.
Most importantly, stay informed! By following the ASBMB Policy Blotter, you will know about the latest issues that are being discussed on the Hill and the latest efforts being conducted by the ASBMB and other advocacy groups. Our new feature that debuted in the fall, The Weekly Roundup, connects you to the latest news articles that cover science policy issues (and saves you a Google search!).
As Public Affairs Director, Ben Corb, wrote, “Hill days are not enough.” Scientists and their friends and family need to advocate year-round to stress the importance of scientific research with visits, phone calls, letters, town hall meetings, and through the media. Stay tuned to ASBMB’s efforts and make sure to share with us your efforts, so that we can spread the word on the Hill of the great work scientists are conducting across the U.S.! Cheers to 2014!
Important dates for next steps forward:
- Now – sign up to be a part of the Local Advocates Network
- January 31 – The deadline for ASBMB Spring Hill Day applications
- March 31 – April 2 – ASBMB Spring Hill Day
- August – 2014 100 Meetings Challenge
- Year round – with the help of ASBMB staff, set up meetings and invite members of Congress to visit your lab