UCSD Students Attend Lobbying Event in Washington, D.C.

UCSD Students Attend Lobbying Event in Washington, D.C.

Capitol Hill Days 2015 brought together 200 activists, consisting of both students and non-students, to learn about and lobby for international family planning from April 10 to April 14. Six students from UCSD attended the event.

Capitol Hill Days is an annual event organized by Population Connection, a grassroots organization that supports efforts to stabilize population growth through access to family planning and educating people on the environmental effects of population growth.

Population Connection’s Senior Vice President for Media and Government Relations Brian Dixon told the UCSD Guardian that the organization’s objective is to promote and provide resources for family planning worldwide.

“In short, our goal is to ensure that every woman and couple in the world has access to affordable, voluntary, comprehensive family planning services, including access to the full range of contraceptive options,” Dixon said.

The annual four-day event trained participants in effective lobbying techniques and educated them on issues relevant to population growth. The first two days were spent in seminars and training exercises, followed by two days of actively lobbying state representatives.

UCSD biological sciences graduate student Brian Tsu shared his favorite lesson, learning to lobby, with the Guardian.

“In the Capitol Hill Days agenda, the component that interested me the most was the opportunity to gain an understanding about the lobbying process, which is poorly understood by the general U.S. population,” Tsu said.

Attendees listened to experts from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Women’s Law Center speak on issues of reproductive rights at home and abroad, family planning, spreading ideas through media and lobbying and the environmental consequences of overpopulation.

When asked what they would take away from their experience in Washington, D.C., the UCSD students who attended expressed a desire to bring their new skills to the San Diego community. Revelle College junior Tatiana Freiin von Rheinbaben shared her plans to start a club to engage students politically.

“I would like to found a club that informs UCSD students about environmental issues and tell[s] them how they can get engaged and involved in easy ways — sending emails, going to protests, meeting up with their representatives,” Freiin von Rheinbaben said.

Rebecca Harrington, Population Connection’s national field director, expressed hope that students who attended Capitol Hill Days will create a stronger awareness of global health issues and influence their legislators to support global family planning programs by sharing what they’ve learned with their communities.

She explained that participants in Capitol Hill Days are chosen after completing an application in which they are asked to explain their interest in population, family planning or advocacy issues. 

“The event is open to anyone who is interested in learning more deeply about these issues,” Harrington said. “But we particularly look for students who have spent some of their academic or extracurricular energy focused on being engaged with population or family-planning issues.” 

Of the 200 participants who attend, a select amount who applied received full funding of their travel expenses. There is no fee for attending, and anyone can register to attend if they pay for their own travel expenses.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The UCSD Guardian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *