Lobby Day Information

Lobby Day Rally

What is Lobby Day?  A Primer

"Lobby Day" is an annual event that is organized on a state-wide basis by the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Each year, the NASW-FL chapter identifies key legislative issues to follow during the spring legislative session (generally 60 days in March and April). NASW provides information to its members about these issues, so they can participate more effectively in the legislative process (e.g., through contacting their legislators and educating others in their communities). NASW encourages social work students to come to Tallahassee for a special day of civic engagement, which NASW calls Lobby Day. On this day, social work students and others who are interested in social concerns come to the state capital to meet with state legislators (senators, representatives, and their aids), educate them about the concerns of social workers, and advocate for policies that promote social justice and the well-being of social work clients. The name Lobby Day is a bit misleading, since students are not lobbyists, but interested students. Typically, Lobby Day is actually two days. On the first day, students travel to Tallahassee (on a chartered bus) and participate in legislative training conducted by NASW. On the second day, students meet with various legislators and legislative aids (for 3 to 5 hours), and then return home. Oh yes, there is also time for having some interesting meals, networking with students from various schools, having a pep rally, and watching movies on the bus.

A meeting with an individual legislator generally lasts from 1 to 15 minutes. Some students make appointments with their own representative and senator, to ensure they will have a chance to meet. Other students simply knock on doors and ask the secretaries if they may speak with the legislators. Students meet with legislators in groups of 3-4, with one student designated as the lead speaker for each meeting. Feedback from various students suggests that Lobby Day is a unique and transformational experience. They report feeling empowered by talking to legislators, and having them really listen to their concerns. Many students who initially felt they would focus their careers of individual and family practice suggest that Lobby Day has made them much more interested in community and policy work.

Various schools of social work across the state support Lobby Day as a learning opportunity, allowing students to put the social work values of social justice and commitment to clients into practice. In particular, students can apply what they are learning in their policy, community, and other classes. The FAU School of Social Work does not require students to participate in Lobby Day. Further, the FAU School of Social Work does not tell students which topics to advocate for, or against. Each student who decides to participate in Lobby Day may choose which issues to address, and which positions to take. Each student speaks on his or her behalf (see http://www.fau.edu/policies/PM_95.pdf for the FAU policy which restricts FAU employees and students from lobbying on behalf of FAU). The FAU School of Social Work encourages professional behavior throughout their Lobby Day activities, as the way that students present themselves with legislators does reflect on the FAU School of Social Work and the profession of social work. Accordingly, it is important for students to act in a manner that is honest, respectful, and knowledgeable (e.g., using logic, research evidence, and other scholarly material to support their positions). Dress for the bus is "casual-comfortable – dress for meeting with legislators should be business attire (e.g., no jeans or t-shirts; some students wear suits, ties, etc., though these are not required).

The FAU School of Social Work supports participation in Lobby Day by offering faculty members to assist with planning the event, educating students about legislative advocacy, and escorting students to Lobby Day. Students – through their Acolyte and Phi Alpha Honors organizations – are actually responsible for organizing the event, including making plans for travel, accommodations, fundraising, preparing students for advocacy, and helping small groups of students work together on topics of mutual interest. Some professors may give students credit for participation in Lobby Day activities, particularly when the students are advocating for topics that relate to course topics (e.g., child welfare issues in a child welfare course, or addictions issues in an addictions course). Given the principles of academic freedom, students are permitted to advocate on issues related to their coursework, but they are not required to advocate for any particular positions.

Lobby Day 2010 – FAU School of Social Work Goes to the Capitol


The student-organized trip began at 7:00 a.m. Monday, April 5th at the Boca Campus parking lot, as students checked in, had breakfast, and loaded the bus for Tallahassee. The bus made a brief stop at the Jupiter campus to pick up more students and receive some final words from FAU’s administration, wishing us well and advising us how to “have fun and stay out of trouble.” Our busload comprised students from the BSW program, MSW program, criminal justice, and political science, as well as social work faculty members. Everyone brought social advocacy posters, camaraderie, enthusiasm, friendship, and lots of food. Counting students who drove their own cars to Tallahassee, FAU had about 78 people in attendance – a school record.

Everyone was excited for the experiential learning experience on legislative advocacy to begin. The trip was a culmination of a year’s worth of preparation, including a white elephant sale, comedy club fundraiser, t-shirt sales, advocacy training, and organizing transportation and accommodations. Social work students from around the state joined together Monday afternoon for training put together by the NASW-FL concerning effective legislative advocacy. Once the training was completed, students were armed for “the big day” and retired to their hotel for rest, preparation, and of course, socializing.

Tuesday, April 6 began bright and early at the State Capitol for the traditional FAU picture in front of the dolphin statue and then breakfast provided by the NASW-FL. To open the ceremonies and public rally, FAU performed a song with lyrics written by MSW student Laura Edge. Speeches from social work leaders helped to make this an exhilarating start to our mission to promote social change by advocating directly with state legislators.

Once we were dismissed from the opening ceremonies - fortified with inspiration and nutrition (coffee too), we had the opportunity to tour the capitol, speak with legislators and their aides, watch the legislative process on the House and Senate floor, and participate in committee hearings. Students met in small groups or individually with legislators or aids to advocate for social justice on a myriad of issues, including education, services for the elderly, mental health parity, traffic safety, adoption by gay men or lesbians, sex education, and abortion. Students were well prepared, speaking clearly, assertively, and with renewed and fresh perspectives on numerous issues. Some students even testified at a Senate hearing. Other students were able to obtain support of legislators who were previously uncommitted or opposed to certain bills.

The bus ride back to FAU began at 2:30 p.m. The bus was alive with the excitement and triumphs of the day - with students sharing their moments of success, overcoming anxious nervousness to speak with policy-makers, and enlightenment on how policy impacts practice. In our formal and informal evaluations on Lobby Day, students commented that the Lobby Day experience was enjoyable, informative, enriching, awesome, wonderful, positive towards career, and well organized. As we returned to South Florida around 10:30 p.m., students felt a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm for being a social worker. Our experiences demonstrated, the voice of one CAN effect change, and the voices of many working together can make the experience even more meaningful.

Click Here for Photo Album





Memories and Moments


**Catherine R Dockweiler Vreeland
Favorite Lobby Day 2009 Moment
Getting a chance to fight for my own cause, Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse (i.e., Robitussin and Mucinex DXM) and prove to myself that I could do it. I fought tooth and nail to get all of the research done to support this cause and did not think I would get as far as I did. I got 3 appointments with senators and legislators, yet I searched when I did not have appointments and walked house and senate members to meetings or asked if I could have a moment of their time in the hallway when I passed them. I, also, had my research on hand which helped a lot and all of them asked me to send my research to them and the possibility of this being a future bill was a definite.

Favorite Lobby Day 2009 Moment(s)
The chance to socialize with all the other social work students from FAU. Meetings with all of the members of house and senate that I was able to meet with. Enjoying the lunchtime skit “491 – A Murder Mystery”

How was your Lobby Day 2009 experience?
It was a wonderful experience. It was my 2nd year and it was the best. From my experiences over the last two years, this was a great learning experience. The first year, I just helped in the background and piggy backed a cause with one of my now supervisors (she offered me a job after the last Lobby Day and now I am training to be an office manager at my agency(!)). I learned a lot and was empowered by that experience to join the committee this year, create this Facebook page, work with Aubrey to get the necessary materials on the School of Social Work page, and make lasting friendships. I, also, was empowered to want to be more active in the advocacy playing field and created my own cause. My message for others...learn from this and allow it to teach and empower you to fight for what you feel is right and not fair and make it right.

What did you learn on this trip to Tallahassee to participate in Lobby Day 2009 festivities?
We are not just one person. We are a voice of empowerment. We are social workers. We are trained to help others to help themselves. How can we help others if they do not have the options for that help? Advocacy is one of the keys to success in being a great social worker.

**Susan Silverman
Favorite Lobby Day 2009 Moment
Getting a chance to talk to with Senator Jeff Atwater, the President of the Senate and tell him about the bill I was interested in for Senior Services. Last year his staff had promised that he would see me but he was in meetings and it didn’t work out.

Favorite Lobby Day 2009 Moment(s)
The chance to socialize with all the other social work students from FAU. The pep rally with the 599 other attendees. Enjoying the lunchtime skit “491 – A Murder Mystery”

How was your Lobby Day 2009 experience? It was a wonderful experience. It was my 3rd year and it was the best. From my experiences over the last 3 years in talking with legislators I am more at ease and comfortable with politicians. I know it will help me to advocate for the people and programs that I am interested in. In fact I have an appointment next Monday with a local Commissioner to talk about” Communities For A Lifetime”, a Florida State initiative that I am interested in promoting.

What did you learn on this trip to Tallahassee to participate in Lobby Day 2009 festivities? Together we can make a difference. Our legislators are people just like us and we can appeal to them on a personal level.

**Beth Barash
Favorite Lobby Day 2009 Moment
Being in Tallahassee and seeing first hand where decisions are made.

Favorite Lobby Day 2009 Moment(s)
Taking in the ambiance or just being in the Capitol.

How was your Lobby Day 2009 experience?
My first Lobby Day experience was wonderful.

What did you learn on this trip to Tallahassee to participate in Lobby Day 2009 festivities?
I learned what it takes to bring an issue to the floor of both the House of Representatives and also the Senate.

Click Here for Photo Album


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Lobby Day Web Accessibility


Facebook Logo


Facebook Lobby Day Planning Committee Groups

Note: Students that need to register to become a member of Facebook to access the page and then the web master wil accept them as a friend.

Google Groups Logo


School of Social Work

School of Social Work

2008 FAU Lobby Day Powerpoint Presentation

Zip Download

2008 FAU Lobby Day Powerpoint Presentation

School of Social Work Shirt

To buy a shirt:
FAU Social Work t-shirts are now available! You can purchase your shirt from Renita Carter in the Boca SW office. If you are on the Jupiter campus, contact Eric Garza, egarza2@fau.edu. For the Davie campus, we are making arrangements to get the shirts to you.

The t-shirt cost is $10; profits benefit Lobby Day.
For checks written, make payable to ACOLYTE and in the memo section put "Lobby Day T-shirts."

We have a subcommittee to sell shirts in their classrooms, on the Breezeway, and at events, like Leg. Training and SW Career Day.

Help support Lobby Day - Buy a social work shirt that states: "Be the Change" since we, as social workers, will help change the world for the better.

Inviting All BSW & MSW Students, Faculty and Alumni to
Legislative Training for Lobby Day

Click here for flyer

This training will prepare attendees who are visiting legislators in Tallahassee on Lobby Day, March 31, 2009. For those who are not going to Tallahassee, this training encourages legislative advocacy—a social work ethic. We will also honor Senator Nan Rich, sponsor for the Professional Social Worker Identification bill, for her dedication to the social work profession as one of Florida’s leading champions
of children and social justice issues. SPACE IS LIMITED.

Three-hour program to include:
Legislator’s Perspective by Senator Nan Rich with Q&A (4-5:30pm)
2009 Legislative Issues by NASW with Q&A (5:30-7pm)

Thursday, February 26, 2009
4:00–7:00 PM
Board of Trustees Room
Administration Bldg., Third Floor
Video Conference: Davie Campus—Room LA 225
Jupiter Campus—SR 270

Sponsored by Acolyte, FAU School of Social Work, FAU Social Work Alumni Society,
NASW-Florida & Phi Alpha Honor Society.

Lobby Day 2009 FAQ’s


If I have to miss field hours, a Social Work class, or a non-Social work class to attend Lobby Day Training Meetings or the Lobby Day festivities in Tallahassee, what do I do? Will there be training hours offered? CEU's?

For non-Social Work classes:
It will be the student's responsibility to make arrangements with their respective class professors for an excuse for any Lobby Day functions. A copy of the Lobby Day poster or copy of a completed registration form should suffice.

For Social Work classes:
All Social Work professors will be notified when and if there are any Lobby Day functions. However, it is, again, the responsibility of the student to let their professors know if they will be attending these events, to ensure that all missing classwork, etc is excused or must be done at a later date.

For Field Participants:
For any student missing Field hours, due to attending a Lobby Day event, meeting, or training functions, training hours will be awarded for LOBBY DAY FESTIVITIES in Tallahassee, however not for attending a Lobby Day meeting or training. Yet, any students attending the Lobby Day Preparatory function will be given 3 Field Hours and any student attending the 2-day Lobby Day event in Tallahassee will be given an additional 16 hours. Yet, again, please, you must inform your internship supervisor or field instructor, if you will be attending Lobby Day, so that these days are excused or can be made up.

Meeting Attendance and Dates:
It is not necessary for students to attend any Lobby Day Preparatory function, such as a meetings, poster making events, planning, or training, etc, yet it is extremely helpful and a lot of fun. These events allow for Social Work students to get together prior to the Lobby Day festivities in Tallahassee and network and make lasting friendships before Lobby Day. It is advised that a student attend at least one event, especially training day, so that the student can be informed and not feel like a sore thumb, while in Tallahassee at Lobby Day.

Group Piggybacking for Causes:
Before the Lobby Day trainings or preparatory functions (poster making, bake sales, etc) begin, a listing of Causes and the Chairpersons of those causes will be placed on Facebook, Gmail, and the FAU School of Social Work's pages. This will give students more access to the causes being targeted and allow each student to see if their target population is already being recognized. However, please feel free to contact me, Catherine R Dockweiler Vreeland, to add a new cause or target population. And do not be afraid to bring new causes into the arena. I, myself, have begun a new cause and am trying to pull info from any source I can.

If I am not a Social Work student may I attend Lobby Day or any Lobby Day preparatory function?

Yes, depending on funding and space limitations. You do not need to be a BSW or MSW Social Work student to attend Lobby Day in Tallahassee or any Lobby Day preparatory function. If funding or space becomes an issue, however, social work students (BSW and MSW) will have first priority for attending the function (e.g., room on the bus to Tallahassee). There are no charges for attending a training or preparatory function. People who are not social work students will need to cover the costs of accommodations if they want to come to Tallahassee.

What is the cost for Lobby Day in Tallahassee? Cost to the student?

Lobby Day is an annual event created to encourage social workers and students to learn about and participate in the legislative process. Being politically involved is important for the clients we serve, and, overall, for the strength of the profession. Every year Lobby Day takes place in the Spring when our State Legislators are in-session Tallahassee. In the past 2 years, FAU students have been able to obtain funding to rent a tour bus and to stay overnight at a motel, making this event free of charge. If you are interested in learning more about the event or how you can support it, please come to our next meeting. If you are unable to attend the meeting, the minutes of the meeting will be posted under Notes. Please come and find out how you can be a part of this exciting Social Work event!

Cost to the student: The cost for a social work student to attend Lobby Day in Tallahassee is ONLY $10.00. Yet, if the student decides that they do not want to share a room and want single accommodations or makes plans to room with someone else attending that is not a FAU social work student, then the cost is $70 ($60, for the single room rate and the $10, for the cost of the trip).

Can students raise their own money for Lobby Day, i.e, candy sales?

If you are interested in any fund raising effort, please contact Cara Zimmerman @ czimmer29@aol.com. for approval on any fund raising decisions or matters regarding this.

If I do not attend or did not attend the Lobby Day Training, may I still attend Lobby Day in Tallahassee or participate in any of the other planning functions?

Yes, you can still go. The Lobby Day training event was not a prerequisite to attend Lobby Day in Tallahassee. Many people are not familiar with the expectations of going to Tallahassee and the training event was to prepare all of us for the trip. You will have other opportunities to "catch up" in the training by watching the video of Feb. 26th's event on-line, once it gets posted (an announcement will be sent); also, on the bus trip we'll have more discussion and show the training video. Also, there are notes from the Training Day event, that have been posted on Facebook and will be posted on the School of Social Work site, so that those who were not able to attend can access that information.

Note: This will be continually updated by Catherine R Dockweiler-Vreeland. If you have any questions or concerns or need more information, please post a message on Facebook or leave a message on Facebook.
Thank you.

Lobby Day Donations


Funds donated to Lobby Day are tax- deductible.
Any questions about donations, contact Dr. Michele Hawkins at: 561-297-3245 or email: mhawkins@fau.edu

Send a check payable to the FAU Foundation (with "Social Work Lobby Day" in the memo field) to:

Dr. Michele Hawkins
Director of School of Social Work
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Social Science Building Room 284-J
Boca Raton, FL 33431


Make your donation electronically:

Select "School of Social Work" as the designation;
Type in "Social Work Lobby Day" in the In Memory Of – field.

Related Documents

Lobby Day Committee Meeting Minutes

Information that you may use for Lobby Day preparations


The following materials are for information purposes only. They do not represent the views of the FAU School of Social Work or FAU. Students have identified these issues as ones that they want to focus upon. They are using this page to share resources with each other. Other FAU School of Social Work students who want to suggest additional topics or information should contact the Lobby Day committee.

  • Social Work Lobby Day Training Powerpoint Presentation
  • Student Legislative Training Powerpoint Presentation
  • Fair Adoption Issue
  • Proposed 491 Duty to Warn Bill (from www.naswfl.org)
    • NASW-FL is advocating for a change to the 491 bill that will enhance the legal protections for LCSWs and other licensed 491 practitioners in duty to warn situations. The bill would limit liability in dangerous situations when confidentiality was broken. The full text of the bill is below. House Bill 109 has been filed by Representative Leonard Bembry. A Senate version should follow soon. Please contact Johanna Byrd, Director of Government Affairs, with any comments or concerns at johanna@naswfl.org or 1-800-352-6279.

      Section 1. 491.0147 Confidentiality and privileged communications.—Any communication between any person licensed or certified under this chapter and her or his patient or client shall be confidential. This secrecy may be waived under the following conditions:

      (3) When, in the clinical judgment of the person licensed or certified under this chapter, there is a clear and immediate probability of physical harm to the patient or client, to other individuals, or to society and the person licensed or certified under this chapter communicates the information only to the potential victim, appropriate family member, or law enforcement or other appropriate authorities. There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, a person licensed or certified under this chapter for the disclosure of otherwise confidential communications under this subsection.

      Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009.

      To contact your legislators, click here.

Legislative Web Resources

Note: This will be continually updated by Catherine R Dockweiler-Vreeland. If you have any questions or concerns or need more information, please post a message on Facebook or leave a message on Facebook.

Content Last Updated on: April 25, 2014
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