The Community Engagement Assignment is to write an email addressing your concerns related to a problem with our ocean environment that you are most passionate about such as: overfishing, global warming, ocean acidification, ocean pollution, plastic waste, shark finning, or any other problem addressing the ocean’s health to an elected representative at the federal level (Senator, Congress Person, or Both). You could also break down a general problem into specific areas to regulate such as: lack of enforcement of catch limits, lowering of catch limits to a sustainable level, or establishment of more marine reserves. If you do not agree that these problems are real, you could also urge support of the opposite such as; that your representative should not support lower catch quotas or reducing plastic waste, but you need to support that with evidence.
The email will be a minimum of 900 words, maximum 1000 words, and be properly formatted for an email to an elected representative. In the email first identify the problem, then provide evidence of the problem, and finally a recommended solution and an argument for their support. Facts must be supported with citations which can be formatted to take them to it electronically or a list of the citations at the end. You will be graded on the logic of your evidence and statements as well as format, spelling, and sentence construction. The project is due December 2nd and must be sent to your Representative with me as BCC (Use FIU Email which is in the Syllabus). I will then grade your email. So, it is important that the email is correctly done and properly formatted before sending. The project is worth 50 points.
Again, the deadline for this project is December 2 and some general tips are below.
Here’s how to put your email together:
Put the key information in the subject line—if you’re writing about legislation, include the title of the legislation in the subject line of your email.
Address the senator by name—start the email with Dear Senator [last name].
State what you are writing about specifically.
Let them know your position and why it matters to you—tell them how the legislation and its implications impact on you and others.
Include relevant facts, statistics, and quotes, together with links to verified, authoritative sources. Backup your concerns.
Tell them what your primary concerns or questions are—state why you have these concerns and what the impact is likely to be.
Explain any other secondary concerns or questions you have, together with their impact.
State clearly any questions you want an answer to—if you want them to take a specific action, state it in the email near the end.
Close the email by thanking them for their time and telling them you look forward to a response.
Include your contact details, including a phone number and physical address if you want a response.
8 Essential Tips for Writing Your Congressperson (From: apa.org webpage)
Write emails only about the issues of greatest importance to you. That way you don’t dilute your influence or your message. Each email should be:
State your subject clearly in the email subject line or first sentence of the letter. Stick to just one issue in the letter.
- Be Informative
- Identify yourself as a constituent. State your views, support them with your expert knowledge and, when appropriate, cite the bill number of relevant legislation (e.g., H.R. 1234 or S.3456).
- Be Inquiring
- Ask for the policymaker’s point of view and how he or she plans to vote on relevant legislation. Expect an answer to a letter, though it may be a form response. Replies to email vary by office; not all reply.
- Be Factual & Courteous
- Rely on the facts, but personalize the issue. Explain how the issue affects your life. Avoid personal attacks, threats of political influence or demands.
- Be Constructive
- Be positive about your issue and offer recommendations about how you want the member to address concerns.
- Be Specific
- Always explain the hometown relevance of the issue. Use “I” statements and cite specific times and examples.
Offer to provide additional information if needed, and provide your contact information.
Remember to thank members for their attention. Follow the issue and thank them later if they vote your way.