“Program Aims to Increase the Number of Women Running for Office.”
UCF was selected as one of the 38 campus sites across the United States and Jamaica to host Elect Her–Campus Women Win in spring 2013. This nationwide program — a partnership between *American Association of University Women and **Running Start — trains college women to run effective campaigns for student government and future office. The training at UCF is being held in honor of 2006 graduate Jennifer Gonzalez Perdomo, who passed away in December 2011 after a sudden illness. Jenny worked at AAUW and had a passion for women’s leadership.
“Thanks in part to training programs like Elect Her, we’re seeing some progress in women’s leadership and representation,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman, CAE. “A record-breaking 98 women are serving in Congress this year. By encouraging and supporting more women to be leaders on their own campuses, we are helping to set them on a path for success in leadership roles after college.”
“We are thrilled to launch our fourth year of Elect Her trainings,” said Running Start Executive Director Jessica Grounds. “We’ve added more sites each year, and I am impressed by the college women leaders we meet around the country. Running Start and AAUW are certain that these women will leave inspired to lead on their campuses and beyond.”
Jenny’s classmates at George Washington University, where she was pursuing a master’s in women’s studies, established the Jennifer Gonzalez Perdomo Memorial Fund through AAUW. Jenny was posthumously awarded her master’s degree in May 2012.
“Sponsoring an Elect Her training at UCF means that we can honor our dear friend by reaching women in the very place where Jenny grew as a leader,” said Hannah Moulton Belec, a founder of the Jennifer Gonzalez Perdomo Memorial Fund. “Jenny was fiercely passionate about women’s leadership—especially women in politics. Thanks to generous donations and the amazing support of the faculty, staff, and students at UCF, we are able to sponsor this training to help UCF women reach their potential. We hope that by doing so we can keep Jenny’s work alive.”
“We want to encourage more young women to run for student-elected positions during their college years,” said Stacey Malaret, director of UCF Student Leadership Development. “This experience will prepare them to run for local, state, and federal offices as well. We are especially excited about Former Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood presenting to the women in attendance.”
Since 2008, AAUW and Running Start have collaborated to encourage college women to run for student government. Building on those successes, the organizations initiated the Elect Her–Campus Women Win training program in 2010, and the effort is already showing results for college women. The full list of participating schools is available on the AAUW website.
AAUW also co-sponsors the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. The conference, which draws more than 600 attendees, will celebrate its 28th year May 30—June 1, 2013, at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will feature an Elect Her–Campus Women Win workshop with student liaisons from the 39 sites.
Running Start, which is dedicated to educating and inspiring young women to participate in politics and run for office, works directly with high school, college, and young professional women to encourage them to think of themselves as political leaders.
*The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 150,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and 700 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more and join us at www.aauw.org.
**Running Start is a nonprofit organization that brings young women to politics so that they are knowledgeable about the process, invested in the outcome, and interested in participating as elected leaders. Our programs educate young women and girls about the importance of politics and imbue them with the skills they need to be leaders so that they can get the “running start” they need to achieve greater political power. With an earlier start in politics, women will climb higher on the leadership ladder, allowing more women to share in the decision-making power of this country. Find out more at Running Start’s website.