Volunteer for Congressional Visits Day 2018
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 2018 Sign-Up Form; sign-ups are open now through 26 January 2018. Selected volunteers will be notified in mid-February 2018.
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 in mid-February 2018.
If you are not selected for this year's CVD or cannot make the 12-14 March dates, the AAS is additionally part of the Science-Engineering-Technology (SET) Working Group, which is organizing another CVD over two days in May-June 2018 (exact dates TBD). We will provide more information on volunteering for the SET CVD in the coming months.
AAS CVD 2018 Details
Schedule: This year the AAS CVD will be held Monday-Wednesday, 12-14 March 2018.
- Monday, 12 March: OPTIONAL afternoon training session; approximately 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Tuesday, 13 March: REQUIRED all-day seminar on how to communicate effectively with policymakers, including some information on the issues that currently impact astronomy and science in general; approximately 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- Wednesday, 14 March: REQUIRED full day of meetings on Capitol Hill with congressional staffers.
Volunteer Selection: 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.
Travel Support: The 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, 12 March (or Sunday evening, if necessary), and depart Wednesday evening, 14 March (or Thursday morning, if necessary). The AAS will book hotel rooms, and volunteers are asked to consider sharing rooms to reduce cost and maximize our volunteer capacity.
How to Sign Up: Please use our CVD 2018 Sign-Up Form. You’ll need to sign in to our website using your AAS username and password to submit the form. The deadline for application to AAS CVD 2018 is 5:00 pm EST on Friday, 26 January. Selected volunteers will be notified mid-February 2018.
Check out these blog posts written by past CVD participants for an idea of what you can expect:
- "An Early-Career Astronomer’s Experience at AAS CVD 2017," by Julie Davis
- "An Early Introduction to Advocating for the Astronomical Sciences," by Ashley Tucker
- "Why You Should Participate in CVD & Advocate for Astronomy," by Kelly Korreck
- "Organizing a Local Visit with My House Representative," by Sara Barber
- "Congressional Visits Day from an Undergraduate Perspective," Part 1 and Part 2, by Anna Ho
- "Guest Post: My Experience with the Congressional Visits Day," by Ramin Skibba
Press releases and staff summaries for past CVDs:
- US Astronomers Make Case for Science During Annual Congressional Visits Day (2010)
- US Astronomers Make Case for Investments in R&D During Annual Congressional Visits Day (2012)
- American Astronomers Call on Congress to Support Investments in Research & Development (2013)
- US Astronomers Encourage Investments in Science on Capitol Hill (2014)
- AAS Congressional Visits Day 2015 a Resounding Success (2015)
- US Astronomers Discuss Importance of Federal Investment in Science with Congress (2016)
- Astronomers Discuss Science with Congress During Annual Visits Day (2017)
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!
John N. Bahcall Public Policy Fellow