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What is advocacy?

The common misconception is that advocacy is the same as education and awareness. We’re here to set the record straight.
  • Advocacy – changing/impacting policy
    • Example: urging elected officials to pass the [Insert name here] Act
  • Education – learning skills, information, etc.
    • Example: Having an event on campus where you talk about housing and present information about poverty.
  • Awareness – gaining attention; changing perceptions; growing knowledge
    • Example: The shanty town event is a way to gain awareness for the housing issues around the world.
Although these three terms are separate, they are all interrelated when talking about advocacy. You can’t advocate effectively without educating the public and having people who support change with you. 

What role can I play in advocacy?

  • You don’t have to be a politician or live in Washington, D.C., to be involved in changing policies – you can make an impact wherever you are!
  • You have the opportunity to influence others to make a change; it’s tough to be heard but you can be heard.
  • You’re passionate about what you believe in and don’t give up. Get others concerned about the issues too. Together you can get your elected official’s attention; they are there to serve and listen to you so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Why isn’t education enough? 

  • Giving people information about an issue is helpful, but it doesn’t cause an act of actual change. 
  • The people who represent us are there to make changes that collectively benefit constituents. When we educate the public, we should offer an advocacy outlet so people can take their knowledge and use it to contact their elected officials to make change happen.

Common advocacy tools

  • Letter-writing campaign to members of Congress about a specific issue.
  • Call your representatives about an issue.
  • Post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram., etc. to your representatives about an issue.
  • Contact local and state representatives to discuss community issues. See our How to Get Involved Locally resource for more information.