Seventeen APAGS members from around the country convened in Washington, D.C., for a two-day advocacy-training workshop hosted by APA's Government Relations Office in December.
The students learned how to present research findings and issues to members of Congress and then put their knowledge into action by advocating on Capitol Hill for increased mental health services on university campuses and protection of peer-reviewed research grants.
APA staff briefed students on these legislative issues and about the inner workings of the federal government. The students also participated in role-playing activities before heading to the Hill to meet with congressional aides.
"Going on Capitol Hill is always a rush," says attendee Erin Zerth, a member of APAGS's Advocacy Coordinating Team and a counseling psychology student at Southern Illinois University who felt empowered by visiting with aides to several members of Congress. "This was my third opportunity, and I am always shocked by how welcoming and warm the legislative aides we meet with are."
Nina Levitt, EdD, associate executive director for the APA Education Government Relations Office, encourages all students to advocate at the state and federal levels.
"Students are the future of APA and the profession of psychology," adds Levitt. "The only way APA has power in numbers is through students."