Dear exchange community,
International students have visited our communities for years. Learning our culture. Working in your businesses. Becoming our friends.
Now, the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program is under attack.
Some in the government don’t consider Summer Work Travel a valuable cultural exchange program. They believe that SWT students take away American jobs. These government officials want to make changes to SWT that could severely damage it, and ultimately make it unworkable.
They don’t know how much you and your guests value the diversity and international perspective SWT students bring. They don’t know how hard you try to find Americans for your seasonal jobs, and how important SWT students are to keeping your American employees working year-round. They also don’t understand that raising your costs won’t just mean you raise prices – it likely means you would need to cut back on your services and hours, or just shut your doors.
We need to tell the government about these realities, and we need your help to do it.
The Americans for Cultural Exchange coalition – coordinated by the Alliance for International Exchange – is launching the #SaveOurSummer campaign so we can make our voices heard.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Write your US Congressional Representatives. This will only take a minute as the letter is pre-written and you can send as is.
3. Join our webinar on how to go to engage your Representative’s or Senators’ offices, how to talk with them, and how to effectively demand action to save Summer Work Travel. We’ll hold a live webinar where we can answer your questions, and will make a recording available afterwards. You can sign up here.
4. Sign our petition in support of Summer Work Travel. We give a copy of this petition, with every signer arranged by state, to every Representative, Senator, and government official we meet. You can sign the petition by clicking here.
5. Participate in the #SaveOurSummer social media campaign. Check out all the social media tools and recommendations here, and start posting #SaveOurSummer on all your social media sites. Also, encourage your SWT students to join this campaign.
Now is the time to act, during summer vacation, when Members of Congress are back in your hometown, and your Summer Work Travel participants are here. Let’s #SaveOurSummer.
CEO, Spirit Cultural Exchange