As we pass the first anniversary of work life in a pandemic, we have all tried to get used to work by Zoom. We’ve figured out which background we like best and we know all the tricks to making our rooms look neat, even if the neatness ends where the view of the camera stops.
As with everything else, science advocacy came to a stop in March 2020. As time progressed in 2020 and everyone became more at ease with the notion of working from the sofa, policy advocates began to explore the idea of advocating via video conference calls. Months ago, a special How to be an Advocate for Science page was added to ASCB’s Advocacy Toolbox (www.ascb.org/science-policy-public-outreach/advocacy-policy/science-policy-advocacy-outreach) that provided suggestions for conducting advocacy meetings using video conferencing.
As the pandemic progressed, advocates began to experiment with this type of advocacy and more congressional offices became comfortable with conducting work with their constituents via video conferences.
Zoom advocacy is very much the same as in-person advocacy. When meeting with your representative or their staff:
- Be sure you can explain your science in an easy-to-understand way
- If colleagues are joining you, make sure everyone has a chance to talk
- Make sure to thank the representative for their prior support
- Have a request for how the representative can help you.
Video advocacy has many benefits too. You can show your representative around your lab, and maybe show a movie of some of your work. But also make sure you are comfortable with the platform you are going to use, and remember to mute and unmute at the proper times.
About the Author:
Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org