Starting a Chapter
What Is PASLAN?
What Is PASLAN?
The Pennsylvania Student Legislative Action Network (PASLAN) is a decentralized nonpartisan civic engagement organization that empowers students to identify and address critical issues affecting them or others in the community and at the commonwealth level. PASLAN helps it’s members to establish chapters at campus in the greater Philadelphia area. Member Chapters learn to identify statewide issues that demand legislative action. By identifying and working with stakeholders in the broader community, PASLAN student members draft or adopt legislation and advocate for meaningful change in Pennsylvania law. Members engage in hands-on learning as they advocate for their bills. Following the legislative process step-by-step, chapters watch as their bills work through committee and hopefully make it to the floor of both chambers and the desk of the governor.
What Is PASLAN’s Legislative Agenda?
PASLAN chapters determine their own legislative agenda following only two guidelines, that their legislation improves the commonwealth’s social welfare or tangibly contributes to the public good; PASLAN is a nonpartisan organization. Each group may be tackling different issues on the state level. Some groups may coordinate and work together to move their legislation if they choose to. Though the legislative agenda is important, the primary goal of PASLAN is to teach its student members how the legislative process works in a hands-on way and give them the tools to be effective citizens.
To that end, PASLAN members have access to the Legislative Resource Manager (LRM), which puts all the collective information needed about legislators at each chapter’s fingertips.
Are you a student on one of these campuses?
Click on your campus to learn more about PASLAN at your college or university.
How Do I start A Chapter?
If you are interested in starting a PASLAN chapter at your school there are several steps you need to take.
Find out what the requirements for a student group on campus are. Read the fine print and ask whether or not lobbying on the state level is prohibited under the guidelines of accepting funding as a campus student group. If your institution declines your request to form a a student group on these grounds, then you are always free to form a student group that meets off campus at a coffee shop or library.
If you can create a campus student group, you will want to talk to your faculty adviser to negotiate the process of starting a group on campus (recruitment, meeting space reservations, paperwork for student group financing).
If you are independent, find a coffee shop off campus where your group can meet.
Have everyone interested in joining ask if it’s ok to make an announcement about your group in one of their PolSci classes at the beginning of class, and then get a roster of people together. Your PASLAN adviser can help you get setup with technology that will help you communicate and keep track of your membership. Aim for 10-15 people to start a strong chapter. More is great, but some may leave after your group has come to a consensus on your legislative agenda.
Where do you have advisers in Pennsylvania?
Currently we only have advisers in the Philadelphia region, however someone should be able to provide assistance through video chat if you are outside a 50mi radius of Philadelphia.
Even if an adviser cannot meet with your personally more than once a year, you can still have access to them by phone or video chat during normal office hours and you have access to the data-rich Legislative Resource Manager that we’ve designed to help your chapter members connect with others and learn from the collective work of the greater PASLAN community.
This Whole Thing Is Overwhelming
Not Quite Sure How To Start?
Once We Have A Chapter
What Happens Next?
Starting A Chapter
Talk with your friends, ask to make an announcement about the group before class (preferably a polisci class) and get a clipboard and collect names! Once you have established a independent/campus chapter, find a meeting spot and hold your first meeting. You’ll want to come to the meeting with a legislative idea, and get as many others to do the same.
Through a consensus driven process and with the help of your PASLAN adviser, your group will agree upon the legislative topic/issue your group will want to take on.
Preparing Your Campaign
Advocacy & Coalition Building
The Pennsylvania Student Legislative Action Network (PASLAN) engages college students in the legislative process through hands-on training. PASLAN supports student groups that advocate for legislation divorced from the profit motive that private lobbyists bring to their efforts. PASLAN groups seek only to contribute to the betterment of the commonwealth’s social welfare and public good. We encourage our student groups to engage in citizen lobbying and grassroots organizing to educate the public around their legislative goals.
Our student members learn to be effective drivers of change and develop the skills to be the leaders of tomorrow.
PASLAN IS INDEPENDENTLY FUNDED
And relies on your contributions
PASLAN Needs Your Support
Making A Contribution
Your contribution to the Pennsylvania Student Legislative Action Network will help secure a bright future for the program. Please consider making a recurring donation, allowing us to spend more time working with students on legislation, and less time fundraising.
Your donations will help the larger organization grow and start new chapters across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Sponsor A Chapter
Each chapter’s finances are kept separate under the PASLAN umbrella. Each chapter runs on a yearly budget of $10,000 which goes towards paying a full-time staffer who is responsible for overseeing and advising chapters. Chapter advisers usually work with 8-10 college chapters at once. A chapter’s success is greatly improved if they have a dedicated PASLAN adviser guiding them through the process. You can secure the future of your alma mater’s chapter by becoming a chapter sponsor. Please inquire to learn more.