17 January 2024

Sign Up for Congressional Visits Day 2024

Yaswant Devarakonda American Astronomical Society (AAS)

Congressional Visits Day (CVD) is an annual event run by the AAS to bring in volunteers from the astronomy community to Washington, DC, to advocate with their members of Congress on federal support for the priorities of the astronomical science decadal surveys. This year CVD will take place on 15-17 April. The application to volunteer is now open and will close at 11:59 pm ET on 2 February. Volunteers will then be selected in early-mid February, followed by training webinars throughout March.

Four AAS Volunteers pose for a photo with Representative Katherine Clark.
From left to right: Fabio Pacucci, Yaswant Devarakonda, Rep. Katherine Clark, Caeley Pittman, and Timothy Sacco.

 

What to Expect

  • Learn how to contact and schedule a meeting with your legislators. 
  • How to craft a message that will have an impact on policy makers. 
  • Gain insight from NSF, NASA, and the Dept of Energy on how they are supporting the astronomical decadal survey priorities.  
  • Understand the federal policy landscape and how you fit into it. 
  • How to help others who want to be an advocate for science and astronomy. 

CVD will be in-person, hosted at the AAS Offices with in-person meetings on Capitol Hill. Two training webinars will be scheduled in the weeks ahead of the visits to learn how to contact your legislators to schedule a meeting in Washington, DC, and to learn more about the federal budget and appropriations process. During the first days of CVD, you will be briefed on the status of the priorities in the astronomical decadal surveys, craft and practice your message, and hear from Congressional staff on tips and tricks for a good meeting. The final day will be full of meetings with your members of Congress and staff.  

Eligibility

A few things to keep in mind while you consider volunteering for this opportunity: 

  • You must be an AAS member. 
  • You must be eligible to vote in the United States. 
  • The AAS will cover most travel expenses for volunteers selected to participate, as our budget allows. 
  • Submitting the form does not guarantee you a slot in this year's CVD. Selected volunteers will be notified by early March. 

Volunteer Selection

We aim to select approximately 15 volunteers who balance the program by location, career stage, and experience. We especially encourage graduate students and early-career professionals to volunteer. We generally ask that people who have done training and Congressional visits for astronomy advocacy before — through programs like AAS CVD, AAAS CASE, facility/collaboration programs, etc. — not volunteer for CVD, as we intend this program to increase the number of astronomers empowered to advocate for science. 

Travel Support

AAS has sufficient funds to reimburse most travel expenses related to the AAS CVD, including lodging, transportation, and meals.  

How to Sign Up

Please use our CVD Sign-Up Form. You’ll need to sign in to the website using your AAS username and password to submit the form. The deadline to sign up is 11:59 pm ET on Friday, 2 February. Selected volunteers will be notified by early-mid February. You must be logged in as an AAS member to submit this form. If you haven't already signed in, please click the "Sign in" link in the top right corner of the page. If you are having trouble viewing the form, then please email public.policy@aas.org.