STEM Advocacy, part 2


Yesterday (it's past midnight and I'm still working on robotics, dear me -Linnea), we went over how to get involved in SACOT for Texas teams. But what about other people who want to get involved in their own states? We’ve got a special guest today to answer a couple questions about how to set up a SACOT-like organization. Philip is the President of SACOT and a member of FRC team 2468, so it’s safe to say he’s an expert on establishing such an organization.

1. What inspired you guys to start SACOT?

FRC 2468 attended the National Advocacy Conference (NAC) in Washington D.C. in 2013. We loved the experience and have returned every year since. However, we learned that direct legislative change is often made at the state level (rather than the federal level), so we decided to create SACOT (specifically focused for the state level).

2. How did you come up with the platform for SACOT? Where did you learn about specific bills to support?

The first step in creating our platform was research. For example, one interesting item we found was that many STEM companies and industries advocated to the government about issues and bills they thought were important. SACOT was also created for high-school students, and we knew it was important to receive support from our respective school districts. Because of all of this, we had three main aspects of our platform: legislative, corporate, and school board. In terms of finding bills to support, there are websites with different filters regarding bill subjects (STEM).

3. What was/is your biggest challenge in setting up and running SACOT?

The biggest challenge of SACOT was just getting started. When you’re doing something that hasn’t been done before, it’s easy to get stuck and lose motivation. We were able to overcome this by just emailing some key members in the legislature and industry and having them tell us the importance of what we were doing.

4. What kind of growth do you want to see with SACOT?

We want all 800 Texas FRC and FTC teams to be involved in SACOT. In addition, we want teams in other states to emulate our model and create STEM advocacy organizations.

5. Any last tips for other teams interested in setting up similar organizations?

Don’t give up and ask people for help. It’s easy to get stuck when trying to create something (especially something with the magnitude of SACOT). It’s important to persevere because you never know how nice some surprises are until they happen. Also, ask people for help! No one is ever going to purposely be mean to you, and it’s good to learn from people who are more knowledgeable than you in certain areas.

Special thanks to FRC Team 2468 Appreciate for not only guest-writing this post, but also for having the amazing idea to start SACOT.
← Back