The National Advocacy Dinner initiative was created in 2015 to facilitate discussion about physical therapy advocacy and to educate students about the process. As a local, grassroots platform, it serves as a valuable complement to existing state and national advocacy efforts by encouraging and empowering students to engage in advocacy.
No 2 dinners are exactly alike, but event organizers are provided tips and resources to ensure that students learn, engage, and become active future participants in advocacy. The National Advocacy Dinner is an initiative of the APTA Student Assembly and is carried out by the APTA Student Assembly Professional Advocacy Project Committee.
Hosting cities are assigned a Professional Advocacy Project Committee member to assist and guide them through the process of organizing a National Advocacy Dinner. Contact the chair of the Professional Advocacy Committee Project Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional guidance or assistance in planning a dinner.
Organizing a Dinner:
Dinner organizers need to do the following:
Form a team: Some people to consider including on the team:
- At least 1 student from each of the PT/PTA programs in your city
- A representative from your state chapter's leadership. (Your Professional Advocacy Committee Project Committee contact can help connect you if necessary.)
- A representative from your SSIG or your core ambassador. These individuals can facilitate communication between students. (Your Professional Advocacy Committee Project Committee contact can help connect you if necessary.)
Determine your budget: The APTA Student Assembly does not have funding for this event, but your chapter or school might be willing to make a donation (if you provide enough notice). You can also ask attendees to pay for their meals individually or you can organize the event as a potluck.
Pick a date: The 2017 dinners are intended to occur March 29-May 3 as a follow-up to APTA's Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC (March 26-28). Events may be organized at any convenient time during this period.
Determine a venue: Venues can range from a school classroom to a private banquet room at a restaurant or bar. Important considerations include the size and accessibility of the venue, as well as the accessibility of technology (access to a presentation screen is encouraged).
Plan the event: Your Professional Advocacy Project Committee contact will assist you with tailoring the event to your location and will provide materials from APTA. A guiding agenda will also be provided. Here are additional ideas:
- Ask a faculty member to speak at the event.
- Ask a chapter leader to speak about current advocacy issues in your state.
- Consider your audience and their experience level with advocacy; gear programming to their needs.
- Invite students, faculty, early career PTs, established PTs, and APTA state chapter leaders.
Promote the event: Actively promote the event by reaching out to local students and faculty. Post promotional flyers. Ask your professors for a minute to plug the event before or after class. Utilize appropriate social media sites. APTA's website (www.apta.org/AdvocacyDinner) offers links to promotional materials including a customizable flyer.
Host the event: Have a great time. Consider sharing the event with those who couldn't attend by using social media, including platforms like Twitter, Periscope, Skype, and Google Hangouts.
Follow-up: We want to know how things went. Please email the Professional Advocacy Project Committee chair and report the following:
- The number of students who attended.
- The number of nonstudents who attended.
- The topics you discussed most.
- What worked well.
- What could have gone better.