Why is the 2018 Student Advocacy Summit Important?

In two weeks, students from across the United States will take control of our future. Together, we will take a stand for evidence-based policy and objective facts. We will take ownership of our role as community leaders and guardians of our planet.

And we will proudly take our place as passionate, powerful advocates on the local, state, and national level.

In two weeks, we will kick off the inaugural Student Advocacy Summit in Chicago. From July 6th to July 8th, the summit will share resources, break down barriers, and inspire youth from a variety of backgrounds to take an active role in promoting science to the public. Through speaker sessions and networking events, the summit seeks to realize the untapped potential of young voices to change our society for the better. By empowering youth to act upon robust science in the political sphere, we will harness science’ social conscience and reframe research in a policy context.

But why is this important?

Image credit: CNN

1) The integrity of science is being threatened.

Science serves society as its natural complement. Research findings refine social norms and improve life quality. Updates to our understanding of the world lead to an enhanced worldview and a better sense of what it means to be human.

However, in an environment where policy operates against scientific findings, it is our responsibility to restore this integrity. Through advocacy, we can challenge the US’s departure from the Paris climate change agreement. With an open attitude and deep commitment to scientific discourse, we can begin to combat the widening of the digital divide. At the summit, we will be empowered to take on a leadership role in protecting scientific vigor and robustness in policy.

Image credit: The Berkshire Eagle.

2) Students will become the next generation of leaders who, with the right tools, can provide us with a better future.

As the next generation of innovators and world-shakers, we have the power to decide our future. Without advocates for science, society will not be held accountable to rigorous scientific findings; this outcome would be to our collective detriment. But by inspiring a new generation of engaged and scientifically literate leaders, we will create new activists who protect science and evidence-based policy. At the summit, we will learn how to become the leaders of a movement creating a future of science, not silence.

Image Credit: UMSL Daily

3) Students need the ability to address today’s issues with facts and scientific vigor.

Today, we face many challenges, ranging from climate change to the impending net neutrality repeal to equitable gender and racial representation in STEM. As students, we hold a moral responsibility to seek stronger long-term solutions. To achieve this, we must incite change through activism. Once we are informed and socially aware, we become the voice for a cause and are armed with scientific facts. We obtain the power to effectively identify and solve the challenges faced by our communities. At the summit, we will develop informed student voices prepared to enact meaningful change motivated by science.

Image credit: The New Yorker.

4) Science must be for everyone.

More importantly, our goal on a personal level is to demonstrate to youth that their opinions hold agency in the world beyond their schools or immediate community. We want to change students’ belief that science is out of place in discussions of policy. We want to change students’ perception that science advocacy is the purview of a more educated and entitled individual. We want to change students’ relationship with science from one of passive absorption to one of informed and passionate advocacy. At the summit, we will create a diverse and supportive network of advocates with the potential to affect global change.

Join us in Chicago from July 6th to 8th so we can take up our responsibility to create a vibrant future guided by science!

Isabella Swartz & Sophia Swartz, Pennsylvania


To learn more about making your voice heard, visit us at our website. To take action, sign and share our petition to safeguard science in our schools, communities, and futures. To be a part of our conversation, join us on Twitter@ScienceTeens, on Instagram at scienceteens, and on Snapchat at march4science.