This year, the Undergraduate Student Government is teaming up with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start to bring “Elect Her-Campus Women Win” back to Stony Brook University on March 1.

SBU was chosen for the second year in a row to participate among 13 other universities in the country.

SBU students hone communication and networking skills and listen to guest speakers at the "Elect-Her" event on campus. "Elect-Her" was launched in 2010 as a training program to empower female college students to take public office. (MANJU SHIVAHARAN / THE STATESMAN)
SBU students hone communication and networking skills and listen to guest speakers at the “Elect-Her” event on campus. “Elect-Her” was launched in 2010 as a training program to empower female college students to take public office. (MANJU SHIVAHARAN / THE STATESMAN)

AAUW promotes equity and education for women and girls in America. Running Start “brings young women to politics so that they are knowledgeable about the process, invested in the outcome, and interested in participating as elected leaders.”

Both are non-profit organizations that aid young women in the pursuit of their political goals through programs and initiatives such as Elect Her.

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In a government where only 18.1 percent of the seats in Congress and 24.1 percent of seats in state legislatures are held by women, both programs hope to inspire more young women to run for office.

47 percent of SBU’s student body is made up of women. In USG 22.5 percent of the seats are held by women, including President Anna Lubitz. Lubitz herself participated in the Initiative last year and currently serves as the student liaison to the program.

“I learned so much to enhance my leadership skills,” she said. “And the knowledge gained from the program helped me to achieve some of my most difficult goals.”

First launched in 2010, Elect Her is a training program to empower college women in their aspirations to be elected for campus executive office.

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The program’s aim is “to close the long-standing leadership gender gap by empowering and training women to run for office at all levels.”

The training consists of a whole day of activities that hone the communication and networking skills of the students. There are also guest speakers, usually women student leaders who share their experiences to the young audience. Students can also ask the speakers questions and mingle with other students.

For Lubitz, the program greatly impacted her performance as USG’s president. It provided her “with the knowledge to stand up for the beliefs and voices of others, collaboration and communication, networking and teamwork, as well as goal setting.”

“It is very important for female students to have a voice in organizations on campus,” she said. “Women represent 50 percent of the population, and it is important for their voices to be heard.”

“Elect Her” is also supported by the Dean of Students Jerrold L. Stein as well as Chief Deputy to the President Dr. Tonjanita Johnson, the Associate Dean of the School of Journalism Marcy McGinnis, the Associate Dean and Director of Multicultural Affairs Cheryl Chambers and the Smithtown Chapter of AAUW.

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