George Washington softball junior Chelsea Lenhart attended the Elect Her - Campus Women Win workshop, sponsored by the American Association of University Women, on Sunday, Feb. 3, at GW's Marvin Center. The event included speakers from within GW as well as beyond campus borders, including GW Communication Specialist and Vice President for External Relations Lorraine Voles and Virginia senator Barbara Favola.
Elect Her encourages college women to become involved in student government and other positions of leadership on campus in hopes of raising the presence of women in political office and other areas of public service in the coming years. The George Washington University hosted the event as one of the first sites of Elect Her's 2013 campaign. Universities across the country will house similar events throughout the year.
Lenhart's involvement in campus organizations and demonstration of leadership earned her a nomination to attend Sunday's workshop. In addition to being a student-athlete, the junior outfielder is member of the Association of Queer Women and Allies (AQWA) and GW's House Staff for one of the junior-senior dormitories on campus. The international affairs major is also a member of Phi Sigma Pi, an honors fraternity, and one of the leading student-athletes in community service hours, earning Community Service Student-Athlete of the Month for December. Lenhart's potential interest in running for Student Association in the future prompted a House Staff supervisor, through the Center for Student Engagement, to nominate the 2011 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team member for the workshop.
Through Elect Her, Lenhart learned of the under-representation of women in United States politics.
"If you look at the United States compared to other countries, we are behind a startling number of nations around the world when it comes to female representation in government," Lenhart reflected. "The idea of this conference was first to break the biases that surround women running for political office."
The event emphasized the need to begin running for elected positions at a young age, especially while in college.
"We went through what a campaign looks like, both for student government and normal political office," said Lenhart. "We also discussed other aspects of leadership and the other opportunities for women to lead, but the main focus was the public sector and elected positions."
About 25 other female students participated in the workshop.
"The great thing about this event was that it was hosted right here at GW," said Lenhart. "Being so close to the center of our government, this event really held significance. We are really lucky to be able to have a campaign like Elect Her come visit our campus."