With Annual Session over now, you won’t have to wait long to get your next national ASDA meeting fix. Carry that ASDA fever excitement over to National Dental Student Lobby Day which is coming up on April 13-14 in Washington, DC. Come and advocate on behalf of your profession and your classmates. Whether it is your first or your fourth lobby day, I can promise it will be an experience you won’t forget.
National Dental Student Lobby Day is a packed two-day event. Monday, April 13, is a training day. We will hear from a variety of speakers about how the government works, the art of lobbying, and learn the details for the bills we will be lobbying. This is also the time when you can strategize and practice with your lobbying team so that the next day runs smoothly. Think about which personal stories you can share to go along with particular bills. Stories about how student debt affects your ability to practice or difficulties your community members have faced accessing care have been very useful in the past.
Tuesday, April 14, is the day when you get to lobby. We will gather at the Capitol in the morning to take a quick picture and then it is off to your congressional appointments. Appointments are usually under 30 minutes each and you may be meeting with a legislator or a designated staff member who is responsible for covering topics dealing with health care or education.
A few tips for National Dental Student Lobby Day
- After you arrive in D.C. on Sunday, take advantage of any additional time to be a tourist. Museums and monuments are always popular choices. Sunday, April 12, is also the last day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, so you may want to take a walk around the Tidal Basin. Monday and Tuesday will be busy days, so you will want to get any sightseeing done on Sunday.
- Wear comfortable shoes on Tuesday. While the distances between individual congressional offices might not be that great, you will have probably walked a mile or two by the end of the day. You may also be pressed for time between appointments and need to walk rather briskly.
- If you have some down time between congressional appointments, I love stopping by the Library of Congress located between the House and Senate office buildings. It is a very beautiful building with exhibits focusing on rare books.
- There are plenty of restaurants located near Capitol Hill. If you are short on time, you can always grab a quick lunch in the cafeterias in the House and Senate office buildings.
- Collect business cards from everyone you meet so that you can follow up with them and send thank you cards.
Not able to join us in D.C.? You can still be an important part of our advocacy efforts! Through our Engage system, you can write to your legislators to support the bills we are lobbying for with a few easy clicks of the mouse. Also, all lawmakers travel home to their districts so it can sometimes be easier and more cost effective to meet with them there. Sign up for their monthly newsletters on their websites and you can learn about opportunities to meet with them not far from home.
Lobby Day first-timers: do you have any questions about Lobby Day?
Lobby Day veterans: do you have any additional tips?
Check out ASDA’s page dedicated to preparing you for this year’s National Dental Student Lobby Day.
~Amy Lesch, Michigan ’15, Districts 6 and 7 legislative coordinator