Prior to meeting with legislative correspondents in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, students completed an advocacy training coordinated by Hinkhouse, which taught students best practices for meeting with staffers and included an overview of the WPS Act.
“Leading this legislative advocacy campaign from the early planning stages through to our Hill meetings was a super gratifying experience,” said Hinkhouse. “It taught me that student voices have value in national political conversations and that you have to be willing to exercise your voice if you want to make a difference.”
The meetings are a culmination of Hinkhouse’s yearlong collaboration with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) as a HoyasForShe student fellow.
Led by former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, GIWPS promotes the role of women in preventing conflict, growing economies, and addressing global threats like climate change and violent extremism.
Creating a Campaign
Hinkhouse’s campaign urges Congress to ensure the full implementation of the WPS Act, which was passed with bipartisan support in 2017.
Since Hinkhouse’s meetings, President Trump has signed the WPS Strategy, which includes a mandate for implementation plans to be presented within 120 days from each relevant agency, including USAID and the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security.
Students met with staffers from both parties in congressional offices representing Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Grace Shevchenko (SFS’22), who was among the six students advocating for implementation of the WPS Act, found the meetings gave her unique insights into the legislative process.
“From my meetings with staffers on the Hill, I've learned how effective sitting down one-on-one with a person can be to understanding how an issue is being perceived on the Hill, what roadblocks may be present, as well as educating an office or staffer on an issue who can now serve as an ally to supporting whatever piece of legislation you are bringing forward,” she said.