To make your chapter an advocacy powerhouse, it is important to build off of the basics. While maintaining the initiatives in the previous two tracks, you can use your chapter to build a marquee event. As the stakes are generally higher for signature events, it is crucial to plan with both your district legislative liaison and your assigned national legislative coordinator. These events can include a large range of things, but there are a few general concepts listed below.
How do I get started?
Reach out to your legislative coordinator for guidance on how to boost your advocacy program.
What events should I hold?
State Dental Student Lobby Day
While lobbying alongside your state association is a great way to get your members involved, creating an event that spotlights student issues may appeal to members even more. An event like this would need to be created with an informational meeting prior to the lobby day where members will be briefed on how to represent ASDA in the state house. Since there is a lot of planning for events like this, it gives a lot of opportunities for members to be involved. If your chapter is in a state with several dental schools, this is a good opportunity to collaborate with other chapters for a stronger, more unified impact.
Dental Student Debate
This is an event that would work best among your district rather than a chapter-specific coordination. Have each school create a team of 2 or 3 members. Create a tournament board and have teams debate subjects that pertain to dental students (midlevel providers, student involvement on mission trips, live-patient licensure examinations, etc.). The “grading” should be done based on the students’ ability to make a clear argument, since many of the attendants will be biased to the “pro” or “con” argument. The teams can be given their questions in advanced, but only given their stance the day of the event.
Webinar advocacy-related information sessions
This is a new concept that has an ability to reach to any chapters across the nation that hope to learn from the content of the webinar. You can invite distinguished guests that are specialists for specific topics to discuss how certain initiatives are pertinent to dental students. For example, University of Florida invited a speaker from Kellogg to speak about the possible benefits of midlevel providers as well as representative of the ADA to speak about the potential negative impacts of this issue. There is a good bit of red tape in situations like this with both schools and national ASDA, so make sure you’re working as a team from the very first step.
What events should I encourage my chapter members to attend?
Meetings with legislator at the district office.