Voice Your Values: Meet with Members of Congress
Take your advocacy to the next level by scheduling, planning for and conducting an in-person meeting with your members of Congress.
Lead the way! Share with your members of Congress your passion and support for people who are most vulnerable across our world.
You have embodied the mantra "I am the Cause. I am the Solution" in your efforts on campus, and you're always looking for more opportunities to make an impact and lead the way to positive change in our world. Changing policies that address the systems and structures of global poverty, violence and injustice is a vital step in being the solution yourself and making it easier for your entire campus community and our nation to be part of the solution.
Now is a crucial time to raise our collective voices as part of a national movement of university students and staff to make it known that US constituents want to see a better future.
So, how does this work?
Keep reading to learn who, what, where, when, why and exactly how to take action in this way!
- YOU: We invite CRS Student Ambasadors and Advisors on each campus to consider organizing at least one district visit this academic year in February, March, or April. Exercise your leadership skills by organizing a group of advocates from your university community to collectively represent your entire university institution. Regardless of where each individual is from originally, you'd be discussing the interests of your university's campus and therefore would be meeting with the Senators and Representatives of the state and district in which your university is located.
- DECISION MAKERS: In this case, U.S. members of Congress
- 1 Representative (based on the district in which your university is located)
- 2 Senators (based on the state in which your university is located)
- Find your US members of Congress here.
- IT'S THE MOST IMPACTFUL ADVOCACY ACTION! Research shows that Congressional visits are the most influential way to communicate with your members of Congress and their staff. Why? We want to build relationships with staff and legislators, and visits allow space to get to know one another and have conversations about the issues you care about. It takes time to organize a visit, so staff and members of Congress know you really care about the topics you're planning to discuss.
- CONVERSATIONS: Follow the steps and tips below to schedule a meeting with one of your Senators or with your Representative. You can start by choosing just one member of Congress to meet with or you can schedule separate meetings with all three. Your meetings are an opportunity to voice your values and share with your elected officials why addressing global poverty and violence is important to you. Remember, their entire job is to represent you as their constituents, so they are looking forward to hearing what you think and what you're already doing on campus! These meetings are very collaborative in nature, as you'll look to build relationships with staff, find common ground, and seek ways to work together to take our U.S. policies to the next level of support for vulnerable populations around the world.
- WHAT'S THE TOPIC? Good question! It depends on the time of year, who you are meeting with, and what is going on in our world! We want to make sure we provide you with the most updated and relevant piece of legislation to advocate for, so be sure to fill out the form below, and a CRS Staff person will be in touch with you to confirm the details.
- During Fall 2019, the most important piece of legislation we are working on is the Global Fragility Act. Please review the Global Fragility Act Backgrounder and Talking Points.
- Please note that this is something we are advocating on only in the Senate because it has already passed in the House. If you are planning to meet with your members of the House of Representatives rather than your Senators, CRS will work with you (after you fill out the form below) to provide another piece of legislation to discuss.
- CAPITOL HILL: All three of your Senators and Representatives have offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Members of your campus may have visted them during our CRS SALT Summit in July 2018, and all of our CRS SALT Summit 2020 participants will head there next summer! If you happen to be traveling to Washington, DC, feel free to arrange meetings with any of your members of Congress in their Capitol Hill offices. Some campuses host spring break service, immersion or other types of trips to Washington, DC. CRS Staff would love to help train and prepare you for an advocacy meeting as part of a larger Washington, DC visit. Email email@example.com to discuss further.
- IN-DISTRICT: More likely, it will be most convenient for you to meet with your Senators' and Representative's offices nearby to your campus. Your members of Congress have offices across their home state and district, so you can meet with them more easily for aptly named in-district visits. Your Representative will likely have an office close to your campus because they only represent a small geographic region of your state. Your Senators will have offices in your state capitol as well as other regional offices. You can find the closest offices for each member of Congress by visiting their websites.
- FEBRUARY, MARCH, or APRIL: To unify the voices of our 100+ campus partners, we'd love to see everyone make these Congressional visits in the spring. This is good timing because the Administration will release a new budget and there are often new committee assignments and Members of Congress beginning their terms in the new year. Take advantage of the opportunity to start building relationships with your legislators and making your voices heard.
- ANYTIME: If February - April don't work for you, no problem! The most important thing is that you show up, not when you show up. If you need to schedule a time to meet with your legislators during a different month, go for it, and let us know.
These PDFs will take you through the preparation process, step-by-step. Be sure to fill out the corresponding forms so we can support you with specific information for your member of Congress ahead of your meetings and so CRS Staff can follow up on your visits with offices in DC.
- FORM: TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING MEETING. Once you have a meeting scheduled, please let us know by filling out this quick form so that we can provide you with all of the necessary details, support you throughout the process, and cheer you on!
- TOPIC: You'll need to prepare for what to say and what to ask for! As we mentioned above, this changes throughout the year. To make your visit the most impactful, we'll send you updated details when you fill out the above form. Fall 2019 Advocacy Visits with your Senators will be focused on the Global Fragility Act [View Global Fragility Act Backgrounder and Talking Points].
- FORM: REPORT ON YOUR ADVOCACY VISIT. Once you complete your advocacy visit, please let us know how it went so we can help you to follow up with your member of Congress and celebrate your success!