to support or argue for (a cause, policy, etc.): to plead in favor of
Know Your Legislation
Research current or recent legislation on an issue you’re discussing in a course at the local, state, or federal level. Have students form an argument about how the legislation addresses the issue, why (or why not) the legislation is sufficient, and any additional recommendations they might have for this issue. Then have the students send their work to the appropriate representative(s).
Work with Public Policy Leaders
There are many organizations who are already doing public policy advocacy work at the local, state, and national levels. In other words–you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with public policy! Instead, you can join forces with those efforts already underway. Some organizations are nonpartisan, such as the Citizens League here in MN, while others have partisan agendas, so it’s important to do your homework.
Check out this information literacy assignment from the College of St. Scholastica that was chronicled on the ACE blog. While it was for a first-year biology course, it could be adapted for just about any course where you’ve thought about how public policy intersects with the course topics.
Have students discuss and deliberate over an issue, preferably with people outside of the course. Ask students to reflect on their understanding of the topic before the dialogue and deliberation, how their understanding was deepened and/or changed as a result of the deliberation, and how effective they were at explaining and communicating their point of view to others. Visit the “Talk” section for many resources to use and structure a dialogue and deliberation.
The ability to assemble and demonstrate is a cornerstone of our democracy. Encourage students to attend or organize a demonstration around a topic of their choosing or as it relates to the course content. How did they approach this work? How effective did they feel there civic participation was at awareness, advocacy, and change? How did their participation change how they view the issue at hand and their civic identity?
Visit the Get Involved page on St. Olaf’s vote website for other ways that students are being encouraged to get involved this election season. Many are easily adaptable to different courses and learning objectives!