Women’s Center Hosts #Elect Her Program
On February 2, the Women’s Center hosted the first annual #Elect Her program, a one-day nonpartisan training for women on how to run for student government and political office. Through this program, female students learn their worth as leaders and gain the skills needed to create an effective campaign platform. The idea for the event started with a grant proposal from Alise Vannatter, a Kent State Political Science major and Women’s Center summer intern. The event itself happened thanks to additional support from Community Engaged Learning, the political science department, Undergraduate Student Government, the May 4th Visitor Center and the League of Women Voters of Kent.
Allyson Carpenter, Cleveland native and Director of Public Engagement for the D.C. City Council, facilitated the event. It also included special guest Alfreda Brown, Vice President, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and an Undergraduate Student Government panel featuring Lauren Oswald, Director of Student Involvement. Representative Stephanie Howse, Ohio House District 11, provided the Keynote address and spoke about her political career and empowering women who want to run for office. She addressed the group asking, “What is holding you back?”
Maddie Camp, a junior political science major and intern at the Women’s Center shared, “I can see myself running for office down the road and I wanted to see if this event would help me and encourage me to run.” Maddie also mentioned that prior to the event she didn’t see herself running for Undergraduate Student Government, but now sees it as a reality. Her favorite part of the event was hearing from Representative Howse and interacting with the other women in the room. Maddie firmly believes that “if just a handful of the women in that room ran for office, we could change everything.”
According to Running Start, who provides a number of political advocacy opportunities including #Elect Her, “Women make up half of the population, but less than one in four elected leaders are women. Research shows that engaging women in politics in high school & college is key to increasing the number of women in public office. More than 56% of Congresswomen got their start in student government.” The Women’s Center looks forward to continuing to offer #Elect Her as an annual event. If you are interested in learning more about this effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.