Robototes wants to help you 👏 REACT!
We built a framework that helped our team and others secure support for FIRST students.
What is lobbying?
Lobbying is a form of advocacy by individuals, constituents, or organized groups with the intention of influencing decisions made by legislators and government officials.
Why lobby for FIRST?
Elected officials have the power to set policy and approve budgets for programs that benefit the community. We lobby to obtain better support for robotics within our schools for funding and policies that benefit STEM education. As lobbyists, we are trying to help elected officials serve their community by providing them with information to make better decisions.
Stage 1: School Administration via Student Government
Robotics team members run for positions in student government. This will bring attention to robotics within the school community, provide an avenue to establish relationships with the school administration, and may present opportunities to speak with the school board.
Ask: Space and equipment for Robotics. Treat robotics like a sport, which will provide pay for teachers coaching the team.
Stage 2: Booster clubs and other organizations
Create a robotics booster club. Encourage as many community members as possible that support robotics - parents, relatives, friends - to join. Booster club members can meet with local school administrators, and school board officials.
Ask: Funding that will help provide equitable participation for all students at all robotics competitions. Influence school administrations to provide better space, staff, and financial support for robotics.
Stage 3: School Boards & District Leaders
Send members to every school board meeting so the district is aware of robotics as one of its constituencies. Make the school board aware of the benefits of Robotics, accomplishments, as well as the constraints faced. Establish relationships with district executives at those meetings.
Ask: Funding for dedicated space, staff, and support. Treat robotics like an official school sport, which will provide pay for teachers coaching robotics teams.
Stage 4: Local and State Government
Connect with and write to state, county, and city council members. Communicate the benefits and value of Robotics, what adversities your team faces, and discuss how those struggles can be addressed or fixed.
Ask: Allocate funds to support STEM and robotics in schools. Provide CTE and/or Elective credits for active participation in robotics like high school sports receiving PE credits which count towards graduation. If offered as an academic credit activity, individual schools will be required to provide dedicated space.
Stage 5: Federal Government
Join the SASA (Student Association for STEM Advocacy) in efforts to lobby the federal government to help pass bills that bring more financial support to STEM programs like FIRST. Last year, SASA had teams of people lobby congressional leaders in efforts to pass the ESSA Title IV, Part A Bill, granting $1.6 Billion dollars toward STEM education across the nation.
Ask: Introduce bills to support STEM and robotics in schools. Additional funding for STEM education and for STEM related afterschool programs such as robotics.
Who do we influence?
Our goal is to influence decisions at a multitude of levels – federal, state, and local governments, as well as school districts and other local organizations.
How do we influence?
When lobbying, people want to hear what positive impact your programs bring to their communities. We tell decision makers about FIRST and the impact it has on students. The experience of working in teams with fellow students, experienced mentors, and corporate partners to accomplish missions helps students acquire:
1. 21st Century trade skills such as inter-disciplinary engineering, computer programming, data analysis, digital media arts, computer- aided design, high-precision metal, and wood working
2. 21st Century leadership skills focusing on creativity and innovation, advocacy skills, digital marketing, social media management, collaboration in physical and virtual spaces
3. Networking opportunities which have led to internships and jobs while at school and after graduation