Staff on Capitol Hill, the White House, and Congress often lament that they do not hear enough from scientists and researchers who depend on federally funded research on the importance of science and their research to the Nation. The challenge is to make communicating with Washington a part of every scientist’s professional and academic career. The American Astronomical Society rises to the challenge by starting a new initiative called Communicating With Washington.
The Council of the AAS has allocated funds to enable AAS members to participate in Communicating With Washington. As a volunteer you will learn how to most effectively communicate with policy makers and travel to Washington, DC to meet with policy makers. The goal is to have one or two astronomers visit Washington every week that Congress is in session and to visit every Congressional office, the Congressional science committee offices, and the White House at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) over the life of the program.
The message will be to educate and ask for support for the recommended priorities of the current and previous astronomical decadal surveys for astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, and heliophysics released by the National Research Council.
To volunteer, please sign up using the Communicating with Washington Sign-Up form.
We have to select volunteers who balance the program by location, time of visit, career stage, and experience to meet the goals of the program. Please fill out the questionnaire in order to be considered as a participant. The questionnaire asks for some name and email, as well as five detailed questions.
Instructions for CWW are written for those selected to participate in the program. However, the instructions are general enough for anyone who would like to learn how to communicate with their member of Congress and policy makers in the Washington, DC area. If you are not selected, you can still use these instructions, but will not be reimbursed for your travel expenses. Please volunteer again when the opportunity is announced. If you would like to visit Washington, you can also look for other funding sources from your university department, local clubs or advocacy groups.
You do not have to travel to Washington to meet with your member of Congress. Schedule a local visit when your member of Congress is back in the state or district. You can find instructions for a local visit at: http://aas.org/policy/local_visits.