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NASPA Public Policy and Advocacy Day

Public Policy Division
November 18, 2022 Scott Sheehan Rochester Institute of Technology

On Thursday November 3rd, 2022 the NASPA held the first Public Policy and Advocacy Day.  The intention of this day was to have members of NASPA learn about key topical issues impacting higher education policy today and join the movement to deepen the level of impact for Student Affairs in the change-making process.  NASPA Policy and Advocacy Day was developed using the Learn, Engage, Vote, advocacy model.  Throughout the day thought leaders and passionate SA professionals shared their thoughts and work that impact the field on a variety of topics.  Topics of the day included: civic engagement, mental health on campus, student loan forgiveness, and the impacts for undocumented students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.


The sessions throughout the day were shared through Twitter Spaces.  This program is the first of its kind by NASPA.  The free event was held from 11am-4pm EST.  By using Twitter Spaces the information shared that day can be accessed through NASPA’s Twitter account @NASPAtweets for anyone interested in listening again.  The platform also allowed participants to ask questions in real time and for links to resources to be shared.  Below is an overview of what the engaging day looked like with links to the Twitter Spaces sessions. 


The goal of the inaugural NASPA Public Policy and Advocacy Day was to have Student Affairs professionals to be better informed about topics that are currently impacting our work.  The insights shared that day hopefully led to fruitful conversations among the Student Affairs community and provided NASPA members the chance to learn, engage, and vote on November 8th, 2022. 


Timeline for November 3rd, 2022:


11:00AM EST

Civic Engagement and the Voter Friendly Campus with:

    •       Mike Burns, National Director of Fair Election Campaign’s Campus Vote Project, @BurnsVotes

This session, moderated by Dr. Jill Dunlap, Senior Director for Policy Research and Civic Engagement at NASPA, explores the connection that civic engagement work has to higher education, unpack challenges and barriers to student voting, and provide some resources to keep in mind in the days leading up to Midterms.


12:00PM EST

Mental Health Impacts on Campus and Advocacy Options with:

  •        Scott Sheehan, Region II Representative with the NASPA Public Policy, @ScottDSheehan
  •        Mallory Jordan, Senior Director of Health and Well-being Initiatives, NASPA, @NASPAMal
  •         David Arnold, Assistant Vice President for Health, Safety, and Well-Being Initiatives, NASPA, @NASPADavid

This session provides an overview of the current mental health policy landscape as it relates to higher education, and then dive deeper into access concerns and some of the non-clinical and clinical interventions available on campus. The session will discuss advocacy options and will hold time to answer questions submitted through the Twitter thread connected to the Space.


1:00PM EST

Student Loan Forgiveness Federal Landscape and Impacts with:

  •       Michele Streeter Shepard, Senior Director of College Affordability at The Institute for College Access and Success, @ticas_org

This session offers a chance for participants to build out policy basics skills in understanding some of the inter-workings of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in relation to the student loan forgiveness federal policy landscape. This conversation will explore how changes to student loan forgiveness programs may impact college affordability, and what to keep in mind moving forward.


2:00PM EST

Insights into the Student Loan Forgiveness Application with:

  •       Don Moynihan, Professor at Georgetown University, @donmoyn 


In a recent NYT opinion piece, professor and writer, Don Moynihan commented on the ease of the federal student aid application process, where 22 million people submitted applications in the first week alone. Join a conversation with Dr. Moynihan to discuss how the student loan application serves as a vehicle to understanding challenges of administrative overhead and best practices of policy in practice.


3:00PM EST

Impacts for Undocumented Student and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients on Campus with:

  •        Susana Muñoz, Associate Professor, Colorado State University, @SusanaPhD
  •        Alonso R. Reyna Riarola, Senior Director, Salt Lake Community College, @areynarivarola
  •        Kayon A. Hall, Assistant Professor, Kent State University, @Kayon_Hall
  •        H. Kenny Nienhusser, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, University of Connecticut, @kennynien

This session, moderated by Blanca Vega @BlancaVNYC, Faculty Liaison to the Public Policy Division and Assistant Professor at Montclair University, will unpack the current policy landscape impacting undocumented students on campus. Recent litigation and executive action continues to create a culture of uncertainty and confusion regarding the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Hear from scholars in the field to better understand implications for undocumented students on campus and what we can do about it.