Engaging Your Colleagues

How can you bring more people to the march?

Lots of books
You could probably offer to bring some of these back to the library for them…

We can’t do this with ten thousand people. We can’t do it with a hundred thousand. We need hundreds of thousands, and we need as many actual scientists as we can get, from emeritus to undergrad. Here are some suggestions for talking to the people in your lab, in your department, or in your building.

  1. Start with existing connections. If there’s someone you know personally, who you think will be down for this already, just pop into their office and say, “Juila – March for Science – April 22nd. You in?” Then start planning and organizing with them. This is the stuff that will help keep you energized.
  2. Approach the affected. Once you’ve talked to your existing connections, it’s time to make more. Start with scientists that you know work with the NSF or EPA. Stop in to their office to talk. If they don’t have time, take them to lunch, or invite them to dinner. Ask how they’re doing. Ask what’s happening with their grants. Ask how they’ll need to change their applications for the new NSF policies. If they work with the NIH, NOAA, FDA, CDC, or other government science grantors, ask if they’re worried that the same thing will happen there.
  3. Show that it’s personal for you. Talk about the changes that you’ve already had to make. Talk about what you think will happen when this reaches the agencies you work with. Draw straight lines: “If this happens to the Department of Energy, I don’t think I’ll be able to do research into solar panels any more.”
  4. Ask what they’re doing. Some people may already be trying to work through agency contacts, make inquiries, sign on to petitions, etc. Offer to help with those. If they’re not active yet (or even if they are), ask if they want someone to call senators or representatives, or to write letters, or to sign on to their letters. Show how much this all matters to you, and show support for what they’re doing so far.
  5. Check in a few days later. Tell them you’re going to march. If they don’t want to come, don’t push it. One check-in a week or two later to say “Are you sure?” is fine, but pressure will probably not win any friends.
  6. Spread the love. Ask them if they can talk to their friends. When you’re talking to new people, say things like “Julia, Hendrik, and I are all going to the march together.”
  7. Never try to make it policy. Do not attempt to bring this to department meetings, faculty roundtables, or official research group meetings. Top-down political edicts will not sway anyone, and in many cases will be against university/company policy or even illegal. If there’s space for announcements at these things, bring those after you do the rest of this.

I welcome other recommendations and suggestions for alternative methods.

Coming soon: Things you can do if you can’t march.

Checkpoint: Have you made a poster yet? It’s not too early, and there are things you can do with it before the march.


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