Rutgers Advocacy Corps Turns Students Into Lobbyists
I recently learned about a unique Rutgers class that you should know about called the Rutgers Advocacy Corps. It’s taught by Francine Pfeiffer, Rutgers’ Vice President for Federal Relations. Francine mentioned the Corps during a virtual presentation about the university’s lobbying activities and achievements in our nation’s capital. I wanted to know more, so I asked Francine if she would be willing to do a virtual interview.
The Rutgers Advocacy Corps is a virtual, credit-bearing spring and summer class where students enrolled in any major can lobby members of Congress as well as their staffs.
My ears perked when Francine first mentioned the Rutgers Advocacy Corps. As a Rutgers undergraduate who briefly covered campus politics, I thought of student advocates who took positions to tell the university what they wanted. Their outlets might be the student government, the Targum, the campus daily newspaper and public protests. Until I spoke with Francine I never imagined that students would join forces to lobby with the administration. Other schools are considering this model, though Rutgers has engaged students in lobbying for over two decades.
Students in the Rutgers Advocacy Corps learn to lobby.
As Francine will elude in our conversation, lobbying is an art and a science. Even on Zoom, students must look professional and deliver a well-written, well-structured argument. Student lobbyists must also gain expertise in areas such as Federal financial aid policy as well as tell personal stories. There is science in the research, but there is art in the language, depending on who is hosting your meeting, as well as listening. You might be sent to meet a lawmaker who has views that are quite different from your own. However, that person also represents parents and students who vote.
I don’t want to write too much here, because this interview will be a real treat for my visitors to hear, especially those who have interests in politics. Please listen!
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