Advocacy Lab is for those who could imagine working in national or local advocacy organizations that make change happen or anyone who wants to understand the art of issue advocacy as a method of social change. An advocacy campaign attempts to impact public policy, most often through changes in regulations and/or legislation. There are a wide range of roles campaign workers can play from research and policy analysis to education, public relations and organizing constituencies to reaching out to a wide range of influential, legislators and other government officials. At the same time, the skills of public advocacy– listening, finding areas of consensus and building on that consensus, finding ways to make change happen – are skills that can be applied to all professional and life settings.
The course will provide an overview of and training in how to affect public policy through advocacy campaigns, legislative lobbying, issue branding, coalition building and community organizing in the United States. This includes exploring the different forms of policy issue advocacy and identifying its value base; exploring the strategies, tactics and activities of organizing and running such campaigns; and thinking about marketing, language and evaluation. Advocacy lab will direct an on-going social justice advocacy campaign which students will run – this is not simulation, but the real thing.
The goal of Advocacy Lab is to gain hands-on experience in taking on a social justice issue and make change happen. In addition to classroom activities, we will take our learning out into the community. The clinical part of the program will include training in the specific advocacy issue we will be working on and going out into the field to advocate for concrete change.