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UAlbany “Elect Her” Training Targets Political Imbalance

Session Encourages Female Students to Engage in Politics

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 10, 2015) – Inside Higher Ed recently reported that out of the top 100 institutions ranked this year by U.S. News & World Report, only about one-third have female student body presidents or other top executives. Further, it noted only 18 percent of members of Congress are women, with 22 states never electing a woman to the Senate.

The University at Albany displayed its commitment to addressing this disparity by recently hosting its first “Elect Her: Campus Women Win” workshop.

A nationally-recognized training session, “Elect Her” was developed in 2009 by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start. The program seeks to address a major imbalance in women’s political representation and is designed to encourage college women of all majors to take leadership roles in student government and future political office.

UAlbany was selected as one of 50 “Elect Her” hosts around the nation for the 2014-15 academic year. Its unique half-day workshop, titled “Elect Her: UAlbany Women Win,” included conversations on the importance of running for office, hands-on group exercises to practice political campaign strategies and a panel discussion from current members of UAlbany’s student government.

Elect Her: UAlbany Women Win
UAlbany displayed its commitment to addressing the disparity of women in politics by recently hosting its first “Elect Her: Campus Women Win” workshop.  Photo by Mark Schmidt

Attendees were also given the opportunity to network with women in local leadership roles including City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Lisa Harris, Senior Counsel to the Senate Majority Republican Conference and Libby Post, President of Communications Services.

Event organizer and University at Albany Associate Director of Student Involvement & Leadership, Beth Conrad, called the event a “definite success.”

“We are already aware of multiple students who are now running in a special election for Student Association Senate later this month, or planning to run in the Student Association general election in March, as a result of attending “Elect Her,” Conrad said.

On a national level, “Elect Her” has seen encouraging results. In 2014, the workshop trained more than 1,000 young women. Of the attendees, 78 percent who proceeded to run for student government reported winning their respective races. Also, 12 percent more students reported an interest in running for future political office after the training.

“Electing women to office earlier in life, especially in student government, is the key to strengthening and increasing women’s representation in government,” Conrad said.

To learn more about “Elect Her: UAlbany Women Win,” visit the event’s official website or email electher@albany.edu. Additional information on the national “Elect Her: Campus Women Win,” workshop is available here.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.