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In order to ensure the continued excellence of Miami, alumni and friends of the University must advocate for the University to institutions of government. With alumni and friends all across Ohio there is a tremendous amount of largely untapped potential to support Miami University through advocacy.

One of the most important methods of advocacy is towards elected officials. Contacting elected officials, especially your legislative representatives, can be done in a variety of ways by meeting them in person, writing letters, or calling on the telephone. The following are some guidelines and suggestions for contacting your representatives.

In Person: Meeting with your legislators is the most effective way to advocate on behalf of Miami and the importance of higher education for the future of Ohio. Use the following guidelines to make your visit and effective as possible:

  1. Planning Your Visit: To make an appointment, contact your legislator's capitol or local office. Call and state your name, that your are a constituent of the legislator, and ask for a meeting to discuss the issue of higher education or a particular bill. Be as clear as possible what the meeting will be about and have a clear agenda. Prepare yourself by knowing the pertinent issues (read newspaper articles, research the issue) and do not neglect to understand the opposing viewpoint. If needed, prepare materials that will help you make your point. Be sure to be patient with your legislator because elected officials have many demands on their time

  2. The Visit: Make sure to arrive early for your meeting and thank the legislator for their time. During the meeting, be as polite and courteous as possible. The meeting is an exchange of thoughts and opinions, so be sure to listen carefully to your legislator's response. However, it is likely you will meet with a staff member instead of the legislator in person. These staff members are very important members of the legislative team and help them to make decisions and understand the issue. Regardless of who you meet with, make sure to make a convincing case using all of the resources available to you. In the case that the legislator or staff member disagrees with your position, make sure to respond in a polite manner. For example, "I see what you are getting at, but my experience is different"

  3. After the Visit: Make sure to send a follow-up letter to the legislator or staff member you met with. In this letter make sure to thank them for their time, reiterate your position, and provide any additional information or remind them of commitment they may have made when you met with them

  4. Develop an Ongoing Relationship: To truly be effective, a personal relationship must be developed with the legislator or staff member. Continue to make contacts after your visit through letters, phone calls, or additional meetings

By letter: To find your representatives' address, go to the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate sites. The correct salutation and closing for letters are as follows:

Ohio Representative
The Honorable (Name)
Ohio House of Representatives
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43266

Dear Representative (Name)

Sincerely Yours,

Ohio Senator
The Honorable (Name)
Ohio Senate
The State House
Columbus, OH 43266

Dear Senator (Name)

Sincerely Yours,

The following are some things to remember when writing to your legislator:

  • Be brief and to the point, but make sure to state your point in a clear and concise manner. The issue and your position should be stated in the first two paragraphs and the letter should be one page in length

  • If possible, use personalized stationary

  • Make sure your letter is personalized, do not simply copy a form letter and send it in. Use your own words and include anecdotes, examples, and facts to support your position

  • Be respectful and do not threaten or be rude to the recipient

  • Respectfully ask for a response to your letter

By Phone: Call you legislator's office and request to talk to them about an issue related to Miami or higher education and be sure to state that you are a constituent. Be prepared to talk about a specific issue and have the appropriate information ready. State your position concerning the issue and ask how the legislator feels about it. Again, because elected officials have so many constraints on their time you may not be able to talk to the legislator. Staff members and aides will be knowledge about the issue and the legislator's position. As always, be polite as possible and write a follow up letter thanking them for their time and reiterating your position.