At NAFSA's Advocacy Day, speak out for students, scholars, and policies that matter to you! After a day of training and strategizing, you will head to Capitol Hill with all the tools you need to educate Congress on how international education impacts your state and district and why we need a more globally engaged and welcoming United States. Personal meetings will be scheduled for you with your elected officials and their staff in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
NAFSA’s Advocacy Day is a two-day experience in Washington, D.C that includes:
- Personal meetings scheduled for you with the offices of both your Senators and your Representative.
- Updates from policy experts on immigration reform, study abroad policy, and legislation that affects your profession and the students and scholars you serve.
- Advocacy training to enhance your presentation skills and answer rebuttals.
- Data on how international education impacts economic growth in your state and district, so you can personalize your Congressional visit.
- Meals: lunch on day 1, breakfast and lunch on day 2. A metro card will also be provided for transportation to Capitol Hill.
- Year-round NAFSA support that will help you continue your advocacy efforts in your district after you return home.
- International educators at any level of their career who want to speak out as private U.S. citizens for policies that will lead to a more globally engaged and welcoming United States.
- Students who have studied abroad and international students and scholars who want to share their meaningful experiences in order to make an impact on Capitol Hill.
- If you are a first-timer to Advocacy Day, you will gain a better understanding of international education policy issues, congressional processes, and proven methods to effectively tell your story and frame the issues. Open the door to new relationships with your elected officials and their staff.
- If you are a returning participant, you will deepen your relationship with congressional staff. Leverage up-to-the-minute legislative updates provided to all NAFSA Advocacy Day participants. Drive home how legislation that impacts international education to create a more globally engaged United States, and a more secure and peaceful world.
All events other than the meetings on Capitol Hill will take place at the Capital Hilton Hotel (1001 16th St. N.W.) Book your hotel room at the Capital Hilton by February 14 to take advantage of the discounted group rate of $279/night (before taxes and fees).
- Yes! As a direct result of past Advocacy Days, members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors to bills we champion, gave public floor statements, hosted events, tweeted about our issues, and more.
- Data shows that meeting in-person with congressional staffers and your members of Congress is one of the most influential advocacy tactics we have available as constituents.
- Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to have a greater and long-term impact, you must follow up with the congressional staffers you met throughout the next year. NAFSA will provide reminders and resources such as relevant news articles to assist you with your communications. A good goal is to reach out once a month with an email or phone call.
- Since you will be advocating as a private U.S. citizen and constituent, we ask for your voting address on the registration form so that we can match you with your Senators and Representative and schedule your congressional appointments. Sometimes we have to provide your voting address to the congressional office to verify your status as a constituent before the office will confirm the meeting.
- If you are an international student or scholar, please use the address of your institution.
- No, NAFSA does not expect you to speak on behalf of your institution. We ask for your voting address on the registration form so that we can schedule appointments for you as a private U.S. constituent with your Senators and Representative.
- If you wish to speak on behalf of your institution, NAFSA recommends that you speak with your federal relations officer or government affairs professional prior to attending Advocacy Day.
- We aim to schedule three meetings for each participant (two with each of your Senate offices and one with your Representative’s office in the House).
- Because members of Congress have extremely busy schedules, most of your meetings will be with staff. Meetings with staff can be extremely productive because they advise the member on the issues, draft legislation, and negotiate with other offices. Congressional staffers often work in multiple offices throughout their career on Capitol Hill, so your advocacy efforts can have a positive impact around the country!
- You will attend these meetings with other participants from your state and congressional district.
- Your meetings on Capitol Hill will be scheduled according to your home voting address and not that of your institution. All Advocacy Day attendees are encouraged to attend as private citizens.
- Most congressional meetings are simple conversations. You do not need to do a formal presentation such as a PowerPoint slide deck.
- Meetings can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. You will share data, stories, and your personal knowledge of how international education impacts your campus, students, scholars, district, and state.
- View the event schedule.
- Day 1: Learn how to conduct a congressional meeting as a constituent at the newcomer’s orientation (past participants are welcome too!) Network with attendees from your state and region over lunch. Train and strategize with NAFSA issue experts and advocates from around the country.
- Day 2: Head to Capitol Hill for personal meetings scheduled for you and your members of Congress and their staff. Enjoy lunch in a congressional dining hall. Debrief back at the hotel where you’ll share your experiences and get energized to advocate year-round from home.
- In the month before the event, keep an eye out for email messages from NAFSA with online briefing materials that will help you get up to speed on the policy issues and legislation that we will be advocating for in March.
- For a more meaningful experience, get to know your Senators’ and Representative’s stances on education, foreign policy, and immigration reform in advance. Look up their bios on Connecting Our World. Follow their work and appearances in the news, become familiar with their websites, find out what committees they serve on, and follow their social media profiles.
- Remember, you’ll be representing yourself as a constituent on Capitol Hill. You will not be expected to act as a lobbyist or to have all the answers. But you do have stories and on-the-ground knowledge about what is happening in your district and state that is very valuable to your members of Congress.
- Follow @NAFSA, @ConnectOurWorld, and #nafsaAD on Twitter.
- Have fun!
“It’s empowering and valuable and a tangible reminder that our voices need to be heard.”
“I would definitely recommend colleagues to attend so our institution gains multiple resources to build a team of local advocates, maintain and cultivate relationships, and stay informed.”
“I was nervous before the training, but afterwards felt completely prepared and confident in the meetings and made sure our voice was heard! It was great to participate in our democracy and learn how accessible our Congressional leaders are.”
“It provided great insight to how politics affects our work.”
“I think it’s great citizenship 101, plus an excellent skill set for work on our campuses.”
“Advocacy Day is a great way to connect what I do every day to the bigger issues surrounding immigration reform.”
“Great opportunity to talk about why what I do matters. It was much easier and less intimidating than I thought.”
“I really enjoy it and want to be here every year! It is a great opportunity and professional development.”