Posts Tagged ‘Campaign College’

Benson, Kaylee Place, and other NMU students

Jocelyn Benson, Kaylee Place, and other NMU students

For the last Campaign College training that I attended, I was lucky enough to head to a location I’d never set foot in before, the upper peninsula of Michigan. As an honorary Yooper (that’s the term for people in the U.P.), I got a chance to see the expansive Lake Superior and sample fresh white fish. But more important, I got the chance to work with the campus staff, faculty, and student liaison Kaylee Place of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.

The training was an excellent opportunity for NMU to offer a program for their already active student body. Many of their students participate in community and volunteer activities, but on campus there is often little involvement in student government.

Kate Farrar with MI AAUW members

Kate Farrar with MI AAUW members

The training’s featured speaker was Jocelyn Benson, a young woman running for secretary of state in Michigan. Benson is a true role model to these women, not just for her current campaign, but for what she accomplished while on campus at Wellesley College. There, as student government president, she worked to institute a student seat on the local town council. This seat has sustained, and it provides an opportunity for students and town members to work together.

Also during the training, the participants heard from communications expert Cindy Paavola, director of marketing and communications at NMU, and from current student government leaders. Paavola made sure that the students thought about the different audiences they were trying to reach in their campaigns and the strategies they needed to develop to reach their “circles of influence.”

Campaigning Simulation

Campaigning Simulation

For their “circles of influence,” the students were encouraged to think of a center circle as their campaign team and then formulate subsequent circles with the different audiences they would reach out to in their campaign. In the campaigning simulation, the students were strategic in developing campaign teams and using many of the AAUW and NMU volunteers to help in their efforts. The race came down to a one-vote margin!

Also, since the training, we are pleased to announce that Lucia Lopez and Courtney Russell  came to the Campaign College training and WON! They are NMU’s new president and vice president, respectively, of Associated Students of Northern Michigan University! We look forward to learning from this experience at NMU and building the training into the school’s targeted efforts for female student leadership.

This program also brought together great connections between state and local AAUW members, with AAUW president Kathy Shaw traveling over eight hours one way to attend this training. We are thankful for the AAUW of Michigan support in training young women to run for student government.

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By Kelly Trumpbour, Senior Director, Running Start

On Saturday, March 27, the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, hosted Campaign College. Our discussions about why young women should run for student government inspired several attendees to consider putting their names on the ballot in the upcoming campus elections.

UMass Dartmouth participants

The students had the opportunity to hear from Lara Stone, who recently won a seat on the Dartmouth Select Board. She considered her campaign to be one of her life’s greatest accomplishments. As a business owner and mother, Stone showed that young women do not have to put life on hold to enter politics.

Student speakers

Sharon Jenkins from UMass Dartmouth’s political science department talked about the importance of message development in any political campaign. Jenkins worked on Stone’s campaign, and she emphasized to the participants the importance of candidate name recognition. Before someone can vote for you, they need to remember your last name. She encouraged attendees to find creative ways for the student body to see posters and short slogans that would reinforce name recognition. Jenkins suggested the participants develop a 30-second pitch that summarized the issues they cared about to deliver to students who wanted to learn more about their candidacy. If a candidate had a captive audience, that’s when she could move into a detailed discussion about her policies.

Speakers and program organizers

When the time came for the campaign simulation, it was clear that the Campaign College participants had found some creative solutions for attracting voters. Some people tried to round up voters on the athletic fields. Others posted themselves outside the building and asked people passing by to stop in. In the end we had a tie between Andrea and Kelsey. They entered an impromptu “special election,” giving them an opportunity to practice the elevator speech Jenkins had discussed. Kelsey won the tie breaker with her appeal to elect someone who understood the perspective of the commuter student.

Based on the enthusiasm and talent demonstrated by all the attendees, we hope to see several young women on the UMass Dartmouth ballot this spring!

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Campaign College at the University of West Indies at Mona in Kingston, Jamaica, may seem far flung, and, honestly, everyone I know was jealous that I got to head to a Caribbean island for work, but I have to agree, that I was quite lucky to be able to call this training, which empowers college women to run for student government, “work.”

The University of West Indies at Mona was founded in 1945, before Jamaica’s independence, with two conditions: that the school would be a regional university with campuses throughout the Caribbean and that it would be entirely residential. The Mona campus consists of “halls” in which students live as well as gather to share ideas. Nadeen Spence, Mary Seacole Hall student services manager, and Sasha-Lee Hutchinson [insert video], student liaison, made Campaign College part of a weeklong celebration of Mary Seacole Hall events.

Because the student body of the University of West Indies campus is currently 80 percent female, but only 40 percent of student government (known as the Guild) positions are held by women, Spence and Hutchinson viewed Campaign College as a chance to ensure that UWI’s women students consider themselves as leaders for Jamaica’s future. Plus, because Jamaica’s national political parties are involved in campus elections and the government elections commission oversees the voting, the Guild elections on UWI campus can be very competitive.

Lisa Hanna

Lisa Hanna

The inspirational Lisa Hanna, a member of the Parliament of Jamaica and Miss World 1993, got the Campaign College training underway by emphasizing  to students  that they should formulate their own individual campaign strategies. She explained to the audience why it is important for a candidate to ask friends to invest in a campaign and be part of a campaign team. Hanna said that rather than viewing this recruitment as a way to convince a certain gender to vote, candidates should focus on the number of votes they need and make sure that people vote on election day. She also said that student candidates can determine the number of votes they need to win by researching previous campus vote counts and voter demographics.

In the spotlight since she was 14, Hanna has had to work constantly to dispel certain perceptions of herself, specifically that a beauty queen doesn’t have the sense to be in parliament. To fight misconceptions, Hanna says that she stays focused on her constituents and what she can do to help them. Like many other female politicians, Hanna was asked to run for political office, so she made sure to that she asked every woman in the room to run!

The students also heard from Spence, who ran for Guild president while she was a student at UWI. Although she did not win, Spence knew that her campaign was important because other women on campus saw a woman in this role. Spence considers running for student government as a way for students to tap into their own personal power.

Also during the training, Tracy Dolcy, faculty representative for UWI’s humanities and education department, spoke about her experience as a woman member of the Guild. And Stevonne Nugent, secretary of the Guild, explained to participants the specific rules of running for Guild positions.

Paula-Anne Porter-Jones

Paula-Anne Porter-Jones

Communications expert and radio host Paula-Anne Porter-Jones shared specific speaking techniques and presentation skills that students can use and encouraged students to think about how to engage their audiences and use a framework of effective speechmaking.

Trevlyn Bonaparte-Elien won the campaign simulation by strategically going to the closest bus stop to get the most votes!

Although Campaign College only lasted one day, and my two-day crash course on Jamaica also was brief, I have no doubt that student leaders at UWI and residents of Mary Seacole Hall will continue their efforts to ensure that there are women in leadership on their campus and for the future of their country.

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Mt. San Jacinto Participants

Mt. San Jacinto Participants

By Kinya Mururu, Board Member, Running Start

Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) in Southern California is one of the 10 colleges and the only two-year college chosen this year to hold Campaign College. As the dean of student services at MSJC, JoAnna Quejada’s goal in holding this training was to enhance student participation in the Associated Student Body and other student organizations on campus.

The workshop day included many inspiring speakers such as Temecula City Councilwoman and former Mayor MaryAnn Edwards. Interestingly, Edwards shared with the students that she had not always known that she would work in public service. She started as a volunteer and a PTA official at her children’s school. But she has been asked several times along the way to take up higher positions, and she has agreed to step out of the box and take the challenge. “Someone asked me, and so now I am asking you,” she said. Edwards is the second woman in Temecula history to serve as mayor.

We also got to hear from current student officers on their roles as student leaders on campus. Tammy Jimenez, Associated Student Body president, encouraged other students to be actively engaged in their campus community. She ran on a platform of increasing campus activities for students and is doing exactly that. “I was so shy and lived in my bubble,” she said. “Now when people see me, I hope they get encouraged to do something productive while they are here.”

Ashley Cook, president of the Beta Delta Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, wanted to give back to her school. Her role has helped her learn how to delegate tasks, which she says is a very important skill to learn.

Students trying to get votes in the campaigning simulation

Students trying to get votes in the campaigning simulation

Anita Botello-Santoyo, president of the AAUW student affiliate branch at MSJC, said that she has learned to be patient and respectful, especially when faced with difficult situations. All three students shared a similar experience: They were all asked by a friend or mentor to run for the positions they currently serve.

Leadership roles on a college campus serve as a means to gain self confidence and invaluable practical skills. Sarah Welton, 2008–09 Associated Student Body vice president, and Angelica Andel, 2006–07 MSJC student trustee, echoed these sentiments as they shared the impact student leadership had on their lives after MSJC. Angelica plans to continue to grow professionally within the recreation and parks district, where she is currently employed, and Sarah is pursuing a career in medicine. She is currently a physiology and neuroscience major at the University of California, San Diego.

Other speakers included Karin Marriott, MSJC director of public information and marketing, who taught the students campaign messaging techniques. Many of the students who attended the training were encouraged, and said they would take the challenge to run during the next elections. And that is the power of “the Ask”!

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By Kelly Trumpbour, Senior Director, Running Start

Cheyenne Hernandez; UTA Staff, Kachi Amajor; Student Congress Liaison, Sydney Bay; Student Coordinator

Cheyenne Hernandez; UTA Staff, Kachi Amajor; Student Congress Liaison, Sydney Bay; Student Coordinator

The women of the University of Texas at Arlington came together March 13 for Campaign College. Sydney Bay, a freshman who also attended Running Start’s summer political retreat in 2009, coordinated the event as the student liaison and did a fantastic job!

While camped out in a beautiful ballroom located in the heart of the campus, young women heard from a major in the U.S. Army, an Arlington councilwoman, and several current and former UT Arlington student government leaders.

Major Jeannie Deakyne, an assistant professor of military science, explained how her time as student body president prepared her for life in the Army. She was stationed in Iraq when history was made and Iraqi women voted in their first national elections.

Lana Wolff

Lana Wolff

Lana Wolff, mayor pro-tem and Arlington city councilwoman, spoke about the realities of serving in elected office. She asked the audience to consider whether they are really interested in talking about bylaws and tax codes because that’s what’s involved in the day-to-day operations. But she also spoke about how rewarding she finds her job and what a difference she feels she makes in her town.

The day ended with a wonderful reception.

Thanks to all who made Campaign College at University of Texas at Arlington a wonderful success!



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I can’t lie. I was just a little bit excited about attending Campaign College at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, since the institution is my alma mater. Instead of showing my school pride by regularly watching ESPN basketball, I had the opportunity through Campaign College to engage women on the campus in all the opportunities of student government leadership.

Campaign College at UConn was made possible through the dedication of the folks from the UConn Women’s Center, student liaison Nisha Wali, and members of AAUW of Connecticut. Plus, the Women’s Center organized a planning committee to build support across the community.

Denise Nappier

Denise Nappier

Connecticut’s state treasurer, Denise L. Nappier opened the training in the morning. An outstanding role model, Nappier was the first African American in the country elected to that office. She said the greatest barrier in her initial campaign was the misperception of her abilities. Nappier, who said that didn’t make much sense to her, pointedly asked the audience, “Who balances the books in your household?”

Participants also heard from State Rep. Mae Flexer and East Haven Mayor April Capone-Almon, two of the youngest women political leaders in Connecticut, who reiterated the points I made in my presentation about why women don’t run for political office. Rep. Flexer, who had always worked “behind the scenes” in politics, did not think of running until she worked at the state capitol and saw men her age considering political office.

Mae Flexer

Connecticut state Rep. Mae Flexer

Mayor Capone-Almon referred to an oft-heard  assertion that women are not qualified to run for political office and assured the students, “If you care about your town, and you want to do the right thing, you are qualified to run.”

Regrouping after luncheon roundtable discussions, participants also heard from three former women UConn executive officers: Amy Woodward Favrerau (UConn class of 1999), Julia Simons (class of 2004), and Liz Ehrhardt Gandza (class of 1999). Each shared lessons learned from their roles in student government and indicated that many of the skills from their UConn positions, such as consensus building, transfer to the workplace after college. Liz, in particular, felt her student experience prepared her for any boss she ever will have.

April Almon

April Capone-Almon, mayor of East Haven, Connecticut.

Participants learned the rules of running for office, the daily responsibilities of student government officers, and how to create campaign messages. Braving the cold, they also headed outside to solicit votes from fellow students.

Amy Holland won the most votes during the campaign simulation exercise.

UConn Campaign College speakers

Campaign College speakers Amy Woodward Favrerau, Julia Simons, and Liz Ehrhardt Gandza.

Thanks to UConn for making me proud! We look forward to many of these young women pursuing student government offices. Go Huskies!

Student campaign messages

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The University of North Carolina, Wilmington, recently hosted a Campaign College training that brought leadership lessons to life for the participating students that will last beyond their years at the university.

Michelle Scatton-Tessier, director of UNCW’s Women’s Studies and Resource Center, organized the training with the help of student liaisons Lisa Huynh and Drewe Witherington Smith.

Lisa Huynh and Drewe Witherington Smith share why they thought UNCW would benefit from this Campaign College:

North Carolina state Senator Boseman

North Carolina state Senator Julia Boseman

During the event, state Sen. Julia Boseman, a UNCW alumna, captivated participants as the luncheon speaker. Boseman, who is serving her second term in the North Carolina legislature and is the only state senator who has young children, talked about the need for more women in political office. An openly gay politician, Boseman has been viciously attacked and continually faces discrimination in her position. She explained that by focusing on the people she serves and burning off stress at the gym, she can cope with the personal attacks on her and her family. She also emphasized how important it is to focus on what is important in life — family and true friends.

Megan Jelley, a former UNCW student government officer, shared with training participants all the transferable skills that she was able to “sell” to gain her first “real job.” Because of her campus involvement and participation, Jelley was able to secure a job on campus in the office of the dean of students after graduating.

Cindy Lawson

Cindy Lawson

Participants also learned about communications from Cindy Lawson, assistant to the chancellor for marketing and communications. Lawson spoke to the students about how be crisis communicators and stressed an essential communications tenet:  You shouldn’t present more than three messages to your audience during your campaign, and when people try to get you off-topic, always come back to one of your messages.

Showing school pride with their teal shoes, Mark Blackwell and Charles Soden, the current student body president and vice president, respectively, shared handy tips for creating 30-second, five-minute, and
30-minute speeches to present to any audience. Using the strategy to campaign and win as a team led Lisa, Drewe, and their teammate Andrew Penvose to victory in the campaign simulation exercise!

UNCW Students

UNCW students participating in the training

Participants and community stakeholders ended the day at a special reception where they networked to solidify additional opportunities on campus and for professional internships. Scatton-Tessier told students that the training was a day of sharing and learning that was meant to empower them to take that first step toward their leadership potential. She encouraged students to show others, through their actions on campus and in the community, what they learned from the event.

Participant Mary Richardson shares what she learned from the training:

Thanks to the local AAUW members for their support and participation in this event!

Local AAUW members helping out

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