Teams of students and staff from Highline College, Ohio State, University of Delaware, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and University of Wisconsin/Edgewood College joined over 1000 attendees at the Disability Policy Seminar (DPS) in Washington D.C. in April to advocate on the importance of inclusive postsecondary education and their particular programs. The Think College Policy Advocates enjoyed a very busy schedule of events, attending sessions to get the latest information on current issues such as Medicaid & Social Security, education, and disability rights. They also received guidance about how to schedule and successfully execute Hill visits to meet with their Congressional representatives and share their voices about what is important to them about college and careers. They shared outcome and other data about their individual programs and from Think College about the TPSID programs as a whole in educating Members of Congress about the success of the Higher Education Opportunity Act’s creation of the TPSID program. They also invited Members and their staff to visit their programs the next time they come home, explored the possibilities of interns from TPSID and other IPSE programs in Congressional offices in DC or in the states, and made other connections that they can follow up on in the future.
When selected as TC Policy Advocates, these five teams committed to more than just attending this event. With the information they learned at DPS, they will be staying active in disability rights and policy for the remainder of the year, doing activities such as:
- Hosting a state, local, or federal policymaker at his or her college program;
- Developing a “leave behind” document to educate policymakers about inclusive college programs;
- Writing and delivering a short testimony concerning his or her program or college experience to local or state legislator, agency, meeting, town hall or other similar event;
- Drafting and submitting letter to the editor of a local paper about his or her program;
- Sharing the public policy experience from DPS with the other students and faculty at his or her inclusive college program.
Stay tuned throughout the year and we’ll continue to share updates with you about our TC Policy Advocates! The future is in their hands.
(Pictured in photos, on L: Liz Weintraub from AUCD and DPS attendees from Ohio at the Capitol during Hill Visits; on R: Karl Wennerlind and Clayton Rhodes of UNLV with Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.)