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Archive for the ‘Elect Her-Campus Women Win’ Category

Like many people across the country, AAUW and Running Start are celebrating the record number of women who are now getting settled in the 113th Congress. Every year, we collaborate to encourage and train college women to run for student government with Elect Her–Campus Women Win, and these congresswomen exemplify many of the lessons we teach during those trainings.

Women in 113 Congress

Some of the women of the 113th Congress

We always start out our Elect Her trainings with a discussion of why having women in office is a win-win for everyone. Women’s political representation comes with many benefits:

  • More women in government results in a more balanced and productive work environment. Just ask Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who believes more women at the table would have eased discussions of the fiscal cliff. “With all deference to our male colleagues, women’s styles tend to be more collaborative,” she said. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) agrees: She says women “know how to compromise and how to set our egos aside. It’s more part of our DNA.”
  • Also, when women are at the table, government tends to be more ethical and less corrupt. This year we will watch as longtime consumer advocate and fighter of Wall Street corruption Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) takes her seat on the Senate Banking Committee.

If women bring so much to the table, why don’t more women run for office?

  • It’s no secret that women face much more media scrutiny than their male peers. Just this week, a profile of freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) noted her love of designer clothing and accused her of — get this — talking too much.
  • The adage “you can’t be what you can’t see” holds true as well. Many women think government is not for them because they don’t see women in office. That is about to change, thanks to the most diverse Congress in history. We’re continuing to see that government is no longer just for white men — anyone can run for office and win. The demographics and stereotypes are dissolving. Among many other firsts, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is the first practicing Hindu to be elected to Congress. She was even sworn in using the Bhagavad-Gita!

At every Elect Her training, we end with a few more words of encouragement and reasons why college women should run for office:

As the spring 2013 Elect Her trainings get underway next month, I am excited to continue talking about and learning from the women of the 113th!

 

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Photo by Nily Rozic Nily Rozic was asked multiple times to run for office before she seriously considered it. The 26-year-old New York state assemblywoman-elect admits she was asked “over and over” to run, which is not an unusual thing to hear from female candidates.

AAUW, Running Start, and She Should Run recently held a conference call for alumnae of Elect Her–Campus Women Win — a program that trains college women to run for student government — with the goal of encouraging these remarkable young women to run for public office. The call, which targeted students who have been through Elect Her and held student leadership positions, aimed to get these women to think about running for office after college and to share the steps they can be taking now to prepare for a career in politics. As one of the speakers on the call, Rozic shared her own story, which touched on all of the tips that AAUW, Running Start, and She Should Run typically share with attendees.

1. Go Local

Rozic knew she wanted to do something to give back to the neighborhood where she grew up, so she made sure to take leadership roles in her community. Rozic first advises becoming a leader in your own community, whatever role it may be. Ramping up your involvement in things you already care about is a great way to build leadership skills that will help you eventually run for office.

2. Start Now

Rozic was not afraid of jumping into the ring at a young age, and she encouraged the Elect Her alums to do the same. “You’ve just got to start,” she said, and you’ll discover that there are people who are ready to jump in and support you. Rozic said several political trainings were invaluable to her, especially in finding and developing mentors. For a list of trainings across the country, visit the Center for American Women in Politics.

3. Try Volunteering

A third way for young women to take their political experience to the next level is by taking a paid, intern, or volunteer position for a political campaign or in a current political leader’s office. Rozic landed her first government job working for a member of the New York State Assembly, where she got a feel for what government was like and eventually worked her way up to chief of staff. There are great opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels. For instance, try volunteering on a campaign — you can reach out to the local Republican or Democratic parties to find out more about the candidates. Or you can contact a local or state elected official to find out about opportunities. Each U.S. congressional office manages its own internship program, so look on your representatives’ websites to find out more. Nonprofits also organize internships with members of Congress through programs like Running Start’s Star Fellowship Program.

Ultimately, Rozic urges young women to embrace their youth when running for office. Our elected officials need to be representative of all types of people, and being young is not a disadvantage: “You’re ahead of the curve!”

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Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains college women to run for student government. Follow the links below to read highlights from this fall’s trainings.

Networking, Planning, Preparing to Run!Louisiana State University

Since many of LSU’s student government officers were in the room during the What’s Your Issue? exercise (where students choose their platforms), the officers were able to start a dialogue about some of the campus issues the attendees brought up and make plans to follow up on the concerns.

Working toward Political Parity, One Student Government Seat at a TimeUniversity of Louisville

Those who attended the Elect Her training clearly embodied the spirit of the program: women who are tuned into critical issues on campus and in their communities stepping up to work for a positive impact.

Elect Her—Howard Women Win attendees strategize how to get the most votes for the campaign simulation exercise.

Elect Her—Howard Women Win attendees strategize how to get the most votes in a campaign simulation exercise.

Working Together to Support Women CandidatesHoward University

Every speaker at this Elect Her training had a unique story, but one point rang true for all three: You need to show up, and often! All three speakers stressed that showing their faces at events and talking to people (especially on election day) was a defining factor in their victories.

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To most of our AAUW Dialog readers, it’s no secret that women’s representation in American politics is appallingly low. Women make up just 17 percent of the U.S. Congress, 24 percent of state legislators, and 23 percent of state executive officers. The numbers are even lower for women under 40 and for women of color. The United States is ranked 80th in the world for women’s representation in national politics, behind countries like Uganda, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Yowza.

With Election Day looming, these numbers are always in the forefront of my mind as women’s issues are ignored or attacked by political candidates. The truth is, when we don’t have women in the pipeline for political office, we can’t be guaranteed someone at the table will be representing our interests.

It is for that exact reason that AAUW and Running Start teamed up for Elect Her–Campus Women Win, the only national program that encourages and trains college women to run for office in student government and beyond. We are excited to announce the 39 colleges and universities that will be offering these trainings for women on their campuses this spring. Stay informed about Elect Her via Facebook, and send any questions about the program to leadership@aauw.org.

New Sites in 2013

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, California

California State University, Chico, California

Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York

Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont

North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina

Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

Sierra College, Rocklin, California

University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Returning Sites

Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina

Denison University, Granville, Ohio

George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mount San Jacinto College, Menifee, California

Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

University of North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina

University of Texas, Arlington, Texas

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

University of the West Indies, Mona; Kingston, Jamaica

University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia

Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington

Willamette University, Salem, Oregon

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

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Do you work at or attend a college or university? Are you looking for leadership or funding opportunities? Yes? You are in luck! Applications are now available for three of our great leadership programs. Take action soon — the deadlines are coming up!

Elect Her–Campus Women Win

Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains young women to run for student government on their campuses. Any student, AAUW member, or campus faculty or staff member can apply on behalf of a campus to host the program during the 2013 spring semester.

In 2012, Elect Her was held at 28 sites for more than 600 participants, 99 percent of whom would recommend the training to a friend.

“I was able to meet some incredible women who had been in my position before and create connections with them to help me succeed.”—Boise State University participant

Visit the Elect Her web page to access the application and for more information about the program. Applications are due September 30, and selections will be announced by October 7. AAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process..

National Student Advisory Council

College students nationwide can apply to serve on the AAUW National Student Advisory Council for the 2012–13 academic year. The 10 selected SAC members will travel to Washington, D.C., in early November for a retreat and then again in June for the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. They will have the unique opportunity to advise a national women’s group, hone their leadership skills, and network with student leaders and distinguished women.

“AAUW gave me a golden year of opportunity that I will forever appreciate. … One of the best parts is that even though my term on the SAC is over, my connection and time with AAUW truly has just begun.” — Laura Corrigan, 2011–12 SAC member, St. Mary’s College

Visit the SAC page to access the application, instructions, and information about qualifications. Applications are due September 30, and the new SAC will be announced by October 7. Students at AAUW college/university partner member institutions receive preference.

AAUW Campus Action Projects

This year’s CAP grant program focuses on the issues raised in AAUW’s upcoming research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Men and Women One Year after College Graduation. The report explores the reasons behind the pay gap between women and men college graduates who are working full time one year after graduation as well as the relationship between the pay gap and student debt repayment.

Campus Action Project teams will have the opportunity to address these issues on their campuses and in their communities during the spring semester with projects like educational workshops, awareness campaigns, art or video contests, and other creative ideas. Teams will share their experiences at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June 2013.

Applications must be submitted by October 19, 2012, andAAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process. Applicants will be contacted byNovember 9, and teams will be announced at the official report release event on November 15.

I hope you will apply for and spread the word about these amazing opportunities. Also, be sure to check out some of the other campus-based programs AAUW offers.

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Following a February 11 Elect Her–Campus Women Win training, the University of Cincinnati was poised to have more women students step up to the plate as student government leaders. Two Elect Her attendees, Maesa Idries, a senior chemical engineering major, and Mari Young, a freshman graphic communication design major, ran successful campaigns and will be making a difference on campus this fall. Idries will be the student body vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, and Young will be a USG at-large senator. The two women took a moment to share their campaign experiences.

AAUW: Why did you decide to run for campus office?

Idries: I have been involved with student government for a couple of years, and I saw firsthand the positive impact that student representation can have on university operations.

Young: I wanted to get even more involved on campus through a student-led organization that allows me to reach out to people across campus. My goal is to help make this university the best it can be.

AAUW: What were some of your successful campaign strategies?

Idries: My running mate and I worked to be the most accessible candidates. In years past, candidates would run for office using a last name, so we ran using our first names. Our campaign slogan was “Students for Students.” We talked with many student organizations and made sure we were approachable at all times.

Young: Word of mouth is a very valuable campaign strategy. When you get yourself out there, meet different people, and make a lasting impression, they will remember your name and your mission. I believe this helps when it comes down to voting day.

AAUW: What do you hope to accomplish during your term?

Idries: All of our platform goals need to be accomplished during our term. These are the promises that we made to the student body, so we must be successful.

Young: I want to work on the student meal plan by offering healthier choices and more flexibility. I also want to make the student body better connected — upperclassmen to lowerclassmen and art students to engineering students. Everyone can benefit from a campus that works together.

AAUW: What are your goals after college?

Idries: I hope to attend graduate school.

Young: I plan on working for magazines doing graphic work and layouts. This is my dream, and I’m determined to make it happen.

AAUW: What advice would you give to other women students who are questioning whether they should run or not?

Idries: You can do it. You should do it. Find people to help you do it. You will be better for having done it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

Young: Go for it. What do you have to lose? Even if you don’t make the cut, you still gained an invaluable experience through campaigning. Just by running, you are a visible campus leader for being courageous enough to put yourself out there.

AAUW: Why do you think Elect Her—Campus Women Win is a valuable program for your campus?

Idries: It was valuable because it provided women on my campus with the confidence to run for office.

Young: Elect Her was so valuable because it showed us what strong-willed women are capable of. It was inspiring to hear the stories from women who have “been there, conquered that,” and to have them tell us we can do it too! With determination, anything can be done, and women need to know that. That is my philosophy now because of Elect Her.

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For as long as I can remember, the term “leadership” has accompanied various activities and outlets that I’ve been part of. I have always defined leadership as having the power to lead a group successfully. However, over time, I have noticed that not everyone has that natural ability to get up and lead. And not every woman feels equipped to voice her opinions, tackle challenges, and step up to leadership positions. Working as the AAUW Leadership Programs intern showed me how beneficial and necessary leadership programs are for college women.

To bring women’s leadership development to the forefront of the college experience, the Leadership Programs Department facilitates $tart $mart salary negotiation workshops, Elect Her–Campus Women Win trainings, Campus Action Projects, the National Student Advisory Council, and the National Conference for College Student Women Leaders. These programs engage college women with AAUW and provide leadership skills and the practice and development of those skills. As a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, I can personally attest that programs like these are essential to navigating college and life after graduation. Being able to connect with accomplished women encourages us and offers us tangible lessons and the tools to go forth without considering gender a barrier to our success.

As a college woman, I truly feel empowered by AAUW’s Leadership Programs Department. I get to be part of efforts that show women that they can be leaders throughout their lives regardless of the cultural obstacles they face. All our programs are growing, which is exciting but requires our team to adjust and constantly be creative to meet the increasing demand. But I know that AAUW will continue to reach out to college women and impact their lives.

Being surrounded by people who are fighting for women’s equity and advancement gives me hope that the day will come when women face no injustices. Women leaders around the country have also inspired me! I can now define leadership as the ability to lead with confidence while providing the tools and support for others to do the same.

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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Elect Her was a major factor in me deciding to run [for office],” says Western Washington University student Carly Roberts, who is the newly elected vice president for activities for the Associated Students (AS) at WWU. Thanks to the encouragement and training she received during WWU’s Elect Her–Campus Women Win workshop, the junior human services major is ready to make a difference on her campus this fall. She took a moment to share her campaigning experience with AAUW Dialog.

AAUW: Why did you decide to run for campus office?

Cade Schmidt, AS WWURoberts: I have always been passionate about being involved in my community and taking full advantage of the opportunities available to me. After two years of working as an AS employee, I felt this was the best way for me to continue serving students, and running for office was an excellent opportunity that I could not pass up.

AAUW: What were some of your successful campaign strategies?

Roberts: My main focus during my campaign was delivering a cohesive message. I chose two main focus issues for my campaign: addressing the accessibility of the AS to students at large and reforming leadership and resource training for club leaders. By picking two main issues, I was able to deliver a concise, repetitive message that students could easily identify. Another thing that I found important while campaigning was being realistic. I acknowledged real issues and offered realistic responses. It is easy to get sucked into trying to find solutions to every issue while you’re campaigning — to be the “I have all of the answers!” candidate. But in reality, people appreciate hearing the truth. Sometimes the truth is that you don’t have the answers, and that is OK. The important thing is that you have a plan to find these answers and are committed to it.

AAUW: What do you hope to accomplish during your term?

Roberts: I want make the Associated Students more approachable. Students are paying for the services and programs the AS offers, so we owe it to students to ensure that they know what these services are and how to access them. I also plan to increase and improve the training available to club leaders. I want to move beyond facilitating club activities and really empower students to take hold of their passions and build transferrable skills that they can take beyond their college experience.

AAUW: What are your goals after college?

Roberts: I do not have any specific plans, but I know that I will be an empowered individual and pursue excellence in whatever I do. Eventually, I would like to be involved in local politics.

AAUW: What advice would you give to other women students who are questioning whether they should run or not?

Roberts: Run. Put yourself out there. It’s scary, but it’s worth it! Even if you don’t win, the process of running for office is a great learning experience. You learn about yourself, people in general, and the democratic process. If you don’t run, who will? Don’t depend on others to speak for you — speak for yourself, and while you’re at it, give others a voice too!

AAUW: Why do you think Elect Her–Campus Women Win is a valuable program for your campus?

Roberts: Elect Her was a major factor in me deciding to run. I was one of only three female candidates out of 13. The other two were running against each other, so if I had not run, there would only be one woman on a board of seven people representing a school where women make up more than half of the students. Elect Her is important because it shows women that they have a powerful voice that is important — a voice that needs to be heard. I am extremely grateful that I was able to experience Elect Her.

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Last year, Stefani Jones helped transform the student government at Duke University by winning a seat in the campus senate. Along with several Elect Her alumnae, Jones increased the number of women in student office at Duke to record levels. This spring, after serving for a year in the Duke Student Government (DSG) Senate and going through a second Elect Her–Campus Women Win training, Jones ran for vice president of equity and outreach, and she won! Here’s what she had to say about her campaign.

AAUW: Why did you decide to run for campus office?

Jones: I first decided to run for DSG Senate after completing the Elect Her program. I was nervous about putting myself out there and competing with those who might have more experience than I did. The program encouraged me to jump right in, be confident, and take a shot at being a campus leader.

AAUW: What were some of your successful campaign strategies?

Jones: You can’t be afraid to get out there and make yourself known. Survey the issues that students are talking about, and make sure you’re approachable and friendly. People want campus leaders whom they respect, but they don’t want people who aren’t relatable.

AAUW: What do you hope to accomplish during your term?

Jones: I’m so excited to work next year on a multitude of student issues at Duke. I’ve already started lobbying with other student groups to change our campus sexual misconduct policy to provide a larger window in which students, faculty, and staff can report sexual harassment. I’m also going to work to connect student groups together to enable better advocacy efforts on campus and tackle gender and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues for Duke students.

AAUW: What are your goals after college?

Jones: I want to work in government for a couple of years before possibly pursuing law or public policy school. Whether it’s through public service or policy work, I want a career that will let me give back to my community. Through student government, I have become a better advocate who feels confident fighting on behalf of those who need support. I’d love to use the skills I’ve gained to actually make a difference.

AAUW: What advice would you give to other women students who are questioning whether they should run or not?

Jones: Don’t second-guess yourself — you’ve got a lot to say. If you don’t put your voice out there, no one else will. No one will ever fault you for trying, and you’ll make a lot of great friends and gain incredible experience along the way.

AAUW: Why do you think Elect Her–Campus Women Win is a valuable program for your campus?

Jones: Until we break the cycle of women questioning their place in higher office, we’ll never see real change. Getting women to feel confident in their leadership abilities in college is the first step toward shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

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Shaila Schmidt is a rising junior at Boise State University, where she is majoring in theater arts and dramatic writing. She is also a recent alumna of Elect Her–Campus Women Win. This spring, she was inspired to run for secretary of academic affairs of the Associated Students of Boise State University, and thanks to her training at Elect Her, she won! Schmidt took a few minutes to talk to us about her campaign experience.

AAUW: Why did you decide to run for campus office?

Schmidt: Last year, I began working for my university as an academic adviser to incoming students. I had the chance to work with students from all sorts of educational backgrounds, each with her or his own unique academic interests, goals, and hardships. I had been involved in student government since freshman year, and I felt that my experiences as an adviser made me the perfect candidate for secretary of academic affairs.

AAUW: What were some of your successful campaign strategies?

Schmidt: I utilized my resources. I had the benefit of working on a team of candidates for a variety of positions within the organization, which broadened my networking circles and provided me with stronger support. I talked with students, faculty, and administrators to fully understand what everyone needed from this position.

AAUW: What do you hope to accomplish during your term?

Schmidt: I want to help foster a stronger relationship among students, administrators, and faculty. Students interact with professors on a regular basis, of course, but many don’t take advantage of the wonderful opportunities to hone a relationship with the dean of their college or the chair of their department. Also, our campus currently offers no 24-hour study facilities for students. This has been a growing concern, and I hope to get the ball rolling to fix it.

AAUW: What are your goals after college?

Schmidt: After graduation, I plan to go to graduate school for theater history and criticism. My ultimate goal would be to work on Broadway or with a local theater company.

AAUW: What advice would you give to other women students who are questioning whether they should run or not?

Schmidt: There is a reason you think you should run. Don’t wait for someone to tell you you’re good enough. I’ve found that more often than not, when I’m hesitant about something I’ve chosen to do, I share it with my peers or mentors. And to them, it instantly makes sense that I would want to pursue it because I’m passionate about it. Passion is all the proof you need!

AAUW: Why do you think Elect Her–Campus Women Win is a valuable program for your campus?

Schmidt: Participating in Elect Her helped me gain a broader perspective on how my passions and achievements can fall in line and bring me to new experiences. I was able to meet some incredible women who had been in my position before and create connections with them to help me succeed in my future endeavors.

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