With everything already on our plates, adding yet-another-Thing(tm) can be overwhelming. When the Thing(tm) is tuning into public policy, suddenly that stubborn task at the bottom of your to-do list moves up a notch. With challenges to undocumented and trans individuals rights, increasing college costs, and tensions around sexual assault response on campus, figuring out why public policy is important doesn’t take long. Student affairs professionals are among higher education’s best advocates for change. Telling the stories of the students you work with to policymakers creates connection and understanding. By giving real names and voices to issues policymakers face, they are more likely to create and pass policies to better support students. And yet, knowing why doesn’t help with figuring out how.
Introducing #SAWonk to track public policy topics
The #SAChat community is already strong and active on Twitter, sharing resources and links across the country. Like many student affairs professionals, a lot of DC-based higher education policy wonks use Twitter to stay up-to-date. With so many tuned in participants, however, finding the policy threads most relevant to student affairs can be hard. Using #SAWonk to tag public policy topics of special interest to student affairs could make it easier. When you want to check in and catch up, you just search for the hashtag.
As NASPA’s Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, part of my job is to keep up with both state and federal policy. I read a lot about a lot every day. I’m also active on Twitter and I share links to things I think others will find interesting. I keep an eye on #SAChat for links that you all are sharing, because I need to know what’s happening on campuses in addition to in the capitols. Every time I give an update or presentation on current public policy topics, someone asks how they can learn more. As much as having you all follow me on Twitter would be great for my ego, our strength is in our community. Dialogue and sharing ideas makes us all more informed. Being more informed makes us all better advocates.
Will you join me?
#SAWonk is an experiment. It will only work if people use it and find it useful. I’ve already started tagging some posts with it, and I hope you’ll do so, too. Of course, if you have other ideas that would be easier or work better, please share them!