Social Work Students Attend NASW-LA Lobby Day

LSU Social Work students attended NASW-LA Lobby Day at the Louisiana State Capitol on April 15, 2024

social work students smiling in a hallway at the State Capitol building

LSU Social Work students attending NASW-LA Lobby Day at the Louisiana State Capitol

Emma Torres

The National Association of Social Workers held a Lobby Day in downtown Louisiana and LSU social work students attended to learn about advocacy, communication and lobbying techniques while getting a chance to talk to legislators before they reviewed bills. 

Students had the opportunity to see debate over legislation in the morning before starting the day with an advocacy training at the State Library. Community leaders and advocacy experts spoke about policies and educated listeners about lobbying. 

Following the training, students met at the Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion to network with other participants and event organizers before heading to the Capitol building for a resource fair and the chance to meet with legislators.

Social work students Hannah Aymond and Laurice Broussard explained their experiences at the event. Aymond said that going over the crime bills will help with a project for her Advanced Policy course on the Raise the Age Act and is the biggest takeaway of her day.

Broussard commented on watching the lobbyists speak to representatives and how it feels to see them in action. “It’s cool but frustrating,” she said. “You’re doing all this work for one thing, and you have 30 seconds to get your piece into the representatives to try to change their mind and persuade them.” She explained that the opportunities at Lobby Day give social work students a good way to see how policy works in macro practice. 

Some students even had the chance to speak to representatives themselves. Justin Dale spoke to a legislator about chemical companies coming into Louisiana. He questioned the legislator about the 20% tax rate the companies are supposed to be paying. “A majority of them aren’t paying those taxes,” he said after the quick interaction. “They’re taking money away from the state and incentivizing companies to come to Louisiana.” Dale explained how this practice creates negative implications for the area known as Cancer Alley, a part of the state frequently affected by those chemical companies.

After putting their training into practice, the LSU students sat in the House Gallery to listen to the reading of a proclamation which declared April 15th NASW Lobby Day in Louisiana.

Social work students smiling with Will Francis, Executive Director of NASW-LA in the State Capitol building

Social work students met with Will Francis, Executive Director of NASW-LA at Lobby Day

Emma Torres

Some of the social work students ended the event by meeting with Will Francis, the Executive Director of NASW Louisiana. They had the chance to talk to him about their careers and interests in the field of social work. They also discussed their concerns about the bills before the current session and other social justice issues of interest in the state such as the labor of incarcerated individuals and concerns for immigrants.

Lobby Day was a successful opportunity for many social work students to view macro practice in action and learn more about how policies that impact them and all citizens of Louisiana are made.