ENACT Students Meet With Legislators at State House

Feb. 13, 2019

ENACT Academic Program Director Melissa Stimell and the students in her Brandeis Advocacy for Policy Change course met with legislators and legislative aides at the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill in Boston.

Students discussed the bills they are working with this semester, and gained insight into where these bills stand in the legislative process, and how they might help move the bills forward.

This semester Brandeis ENACT students are working on the following bills: The Safe Communities Act, Raise the Age, Sexual Violence on College Campus; An Act Addressing Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Harassment without regard to Protected Class Status; Safe Driving: Work and Family Mobility Act, Healthy Youth, An Act Creating Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, 100% Renewable Energy, ROE: Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access, Reduce Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs, An Act Ensuring Language Readiness in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. Past student work from this course is available online.

Students visit the state house throughout the semester to attend meetings with legislators and representatives of community organizations. Working in teams, the students research their chosen issues and design and implement models of legislative advocacy. State legislators and advocacy organizations advise each team to help them understand the lawmaking process, connect with colleagues, and set realistic goals. Each student completes a series of assignments related to the project, in formats relevant to advocacy work, such as an "elevator speech," an op-ed and a short video.

Now in its 10th year, Advocacy for Policy Change is dedicated to the creation of citizen advocates: individuals prepared and motivated to create a just society through legislative advocacy. Since 2010, Stimell has been teaching this course which engages Brandeis undergraduates with the legislative process on key state-level social issues. The course is the model for the expanding national ENACT program, now at 29 university campuses nationwide. See Tweets from legislators below!