Advocacy vs. Lobbying
You may be wondering if you need to register as a lobbyist if you are a UWG Advocate. Here’s the scoop! As a member of the UWG Advocates, you are a volunteer. While the university may ask you to voice support or opposition to a particular matter, we are only asking you to express your personal opinion. This means that you do not have to register as a lobbyist. In your volunteer role as a member of the advocates, you are not engaged as a legislative agent by the university. If you are employed by the University of West Georgia or are compensated by UWG in any way, or if you work for an organization that uses legislative agents, you may be in a different circumstance and should speak with a member of the UWG Advocates staff or your employer before making contact with your state legislators on behalf of UWG.
What are an advocate's responsibilities?
Advocates are asked to become informed about issues affecting UWG and higher education throughout Georgia. They may:
- Write letters and emails to the governor and their state legislators
- Make telephone calls to their state legislators
- Write letters to their local newspapers
- Recruit new advocates
- Serve as ambassadors for UWG within their communities
- Develop relationships with their legislators
- Attend university-sponsored events in their area
The goal of the Advocates program is to provide legislators and community leaders with the following:
Information. Legislators have a lot on their plates, so they may not have the time to get every piece of important information about a topic of interest to the university. This is where advocates can play a crucial role. They can provide information to the legislator, so that he or she will have access to it and be more informed on the issue at hand.
Recognition. Advocates also can show appreciation to their legislators whenever they do something that helps higher education in Georgia. Everyone likes to be thanked, even elected officials.