Planning a Lab Tour? Start Here
It's important to encourage participation from faculty and students to strengthen your university’s advocacy presence, but I also suggest hosting a lab tour to engage government representatives.
Learn from the strategies and actions we’ve taken at the University of Louisville to make lab tours a standout part of the advocacy portfolio.
Three Key Players
- Congressional aides: Aides know the schedule and whether a legislator is unavailable in session or already making a trip to your community for a town hall meeting or university event. Make sure you know who they are and contact them to help arrange visits.
- Your university’s government affairs office: They can help with scheduling, transportation, and public relations. They may even bring university photographers to take photos to promote the event.
- Society for Neuroscience: Contact the Society’s advocacy team at email@example.com for facts relevant to your district that you could share with the visiting senator or congressperson. SfN can also help arrange tours.
On the Tour
- Focus on one or two themes. These tours are usually coupled with other university activities so keep your talking points brief.
- Choose a single activity or demonstration with students and/or postdocs.
- Engage the legislator. Make sure that you allow him or her to have conversations, ask questions, and maintain a nice rapport with the attendees.
Check out Lab Tours: Communicating Neuroscience and Progress and Promise in SfN’s Neuroscience Quarterly for more information and a video about lab tours.
Adapted from the webinar, Making the Case for Science Advocacy.