2 January 2019

Volunteer for Congressional Visits Day 2019

Ashlee Wilkins

Every year the AAS brings volunteers to Washington, DC, for Congressional Visits Day (CVD) to advocate for federal support of their science with their members of Congress. Direct constituent engagement is consistently rated as having the highest influence on policymakers' decisions, so AAS members from across the country are needed in Washington. Would you like to advocate for the research efforts, education programs, and facilities in the astronomical sciences that enable STEM engagement and innovation across disciplines and sectors? Then read on, and sign up today!

We aim to select at least 15 volunteers who balance the program by location, career stage, and experience. We especially encourage graduate students and early-career professionals to volunteer. Use our CVD 2019 Sign-Up Form; sign-ups are open now through 25 January 2019. Selected volunteers will be notified in mid-February 2019.

A few things to keep in mind while you consider volunteering for this opportunity:

  • You must be an AAS member.
  • You must be eligible to vote in the United States.
  • Business attire is required.
  • The AAS will cover the majority of travel expenses for volunteers selected to participate, as our budget allows.
  • Submitting the form does not guarantee you a slot in this year's CVD. Selected volunteers will be notified by mid-February 2019.

AAS CVD 2019 Details

Schedule: This year the AAS CVD will be held Monday - Wednesday, 11 - 13 March 2019. One or two pre-visit webinars (one hour or less) will be scheduled in the weeks ahead of the visits.

  • Monday, 11 March: OPTIONAL afternoon training session, approximately 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday, 12 March: REQUIRED all-day seminar on how to communicate effectively with policymakers, including some information on issues that currently impact astronomy and science in general, approximately 8:00 am - 6:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, 13 March: REQUIRED full day of meetings on Capitol Hill with congressional staffers.

Volunteer Selection: We aim to select approximately 15 volunteers who balance the program by location, career stage, and experience. We especially encourage graduate students and early-career professionals to volunteer. We generally ask that people who have done training and Congressional visits for astronomy advocacy before — through programs like AAS CVD, AAAS CASE, facility/collaboration programs, etc. — not volunteer for CVD, as we intend this program to increase the number of astronomers empowered to advocate for science.

Travel Support: AAS has sufficient funds to reimburse most travel expenses related to the AAS CVD, including lodging, transportation, and meals. Selected volunteers should plan to arrive in Washington on Monday, 11 March (or Sunday evening, if necessary), and depart Wednesday evening, 13 March (or Thursday morning, if necessary). AAS will book hotel rooms, and volunteers are asked to consider sharing rooms to reduce cost and maximize our volunteer capacity. Volunteers will generally need to pay initially for their transportation and some meals, and then will be reimbursed by AAS after CVD, though we will try to work with anyone who would have trouble paying upfront for large costs.

How to Sign Up: Please use our CVD 2019 Sign-Up Form. You’ll need to sign in to the website using your AAS username and password to submit the form. The deadline for application to AAS CVD 2019 is 11:59 pm on Friday, 25 January. Selected volunteers will be notified mid-February 2019.

Sign Up for AAS CVD 2019

Past CVD participants have written about their experience for the Policy Blog and other venues:

Press releases and staff summaries for past CVDs:


CVD 2017 participants after their day of Hill visits
Front row: Gail Zasowski, Nicole Gugliucci, Jesse Rivera, Heather Bloemhard, Jedidah Isler;
middle row: Maya Yanez, Karna Desai, James Davenport, Melodie Kao, Vivienne Baldassare, Katie Devine;
back row: J. Adam Hughes, Sam Schonfeld, Mitch Ambrose, Ben Elwood, Tom Beatty, Josh Shiode, Joel Parriott, Julie Davis.
Courtesy: Jesse Rivera.

If you have any additional questions about volunteering, then please get in touch!