In June 2004, National Education for Women’s Leadership Oregon, in affiliation with the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, will facilitate a six-day training program to introduce college women to public leadership. Thirty to 35 women from Oregon colleges will be selected to attend.
In NEW Leadership Oregon’s press release, the stated purpose of the program is “to educate, empower, and encourage college women to become politically active and take on leadership roles on their campuses and in their communities.”
Dr. Melody Rose, a political science professor at the Hatfield School is the executive director of NEW Leadership Oregon.
“I wanted to start this program because of the serious under-representation of women in the political realm and because of the tremendous energy I feel our women students have,” Rose explained.
The Hatfield School applied to the Center for American Women in Politics for affiliation.
“People from across our campus wrote letters in support of the Hatfield School’s application,” Rose said. PSU, along with schools in five other states, has been chosen to further the presence of the NEW Leadership Program on campuses across the nation.
Rose wrote the application with the help of Bee Jai Repp (extended studies), Johanna Brenner (women’s studies) and Maria Alanis Ruiz (Chicano/Latino studies). Over the summer, Rose, working with Governor Roberts and Gretchen Kafoury, brought together the program’s advisory board.
Speaking to the collective nature of the project, Rose observed, “The board we have today is a phenomenal group of powerful political women who will bring this project to fruition. I couldn’t run this program without the tremendous commitment of this very talented group of individuals.”
At PSU, Repp, Brenner and Alanis Ruiz are members of the advisory board, which consists of 20 women in leadership positions throughout Oregon.
The stated goals of NEW Leadership are “to develop women leaders, create collaborative partnerships with political women, encourage women’s participation in politics and to inspire women to take responsibility for political change.”
Speaking to the larger societal need for this program, Rose said that “equal participation of women and men in the political realm is a necessary component of an equal and just society. Women tend to bring different life experiences and perspectives with them into politics.” The end objective of NEW Leadership Oregon “is to have the full participation of Oregon’s women in all aspects of political life,” she said.
Any women registered at an Oregon institution of higher learning may apply to attend the program. The program is hoping for a diverse class in 2004, “in terms of institutional representation, geographical representation, ethnicity, class, major, and political persuasion,” Rose said.
Applicants must submit letters of recommendation from their school accompanied by a statement describing their interest in the program. Applications will be available by late winter 2004 on college campuses and on NEW’s Web site, http://www.newleadership.rutgers.edu/html/homepage.html.
Rose looks forward to the upcoming summer program.
“I believe PSU is uniquely prepared to serve as a NEW Leadership campus, both because of our commitment to community service and the talent of the students and faculty on our campus,” she said. “We look forward to creating leaders excited about adding their voice to the process.”