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Please note: This is general information on how to conduct a Congressional visit. If expressly authorized, a SWE member may represent the Society, presenting or explaining approved SWE statements or positions. Without this authorization, any statement by a member must be identified as providing a personal viewpoint. Authorization is given only by the President or the Executive Director. Any partisan political activity by any member must be done as a private individual and must not involve SWE directly or indirectly.
Before: Before going to a Congressional office, determine who will be the leader of the meeting; the leader is usually a constituent from the Member’s district or state. Be on time and be prepared to wait. Changes in the legislative calendar and office activity often mean Members and staff must deal with other things. Meetings with staff are as important as meetings with Members themselves; staffers are often very influential in advising Members on votes.
During: Divide your visit into three key parts, but keep in mind that visits typically last 15-20 minutes.
1-Introduce The Participants
Thank the Member/staff person for taking the time to meet with the group.
Introduce all meeting participants, and be sure that they know that “SWE” stands for the Society of Women Engineers.
2-State What You Would Like to Discuss
Discuss the importance of strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in America’s schools and universities, including how Title IX can be applied to STEM fields, and how this is vital to the nation and the Member’s state/district.
Provide examples of federal programs that have significantly strengthened STEM education across the nation.
Provide example(s) of STEM programs funded by the federal government in the member’s district/state.
3-Specific Action Items and Recommendations
Encourage the Member/staff to maintain a commitment to funding federal STEM programs in the FY 2015 appropriations process.
Offer to serve as a resource on science, engineering, and technology (SET) issues that are important to SWE and the SET community at large.
Follow-up with a thank you and later invite the legislator/staff to attend future SWE events.
Be sure to acknowledge the legislator’s past support for SET and be specific. If the legislator is already a champion – ask how you can help him or her advance SET among their congressional colleagues.