We like to take the time to highlight some of the amazing women involved with NeW. Today, we feature an interview with Mara Mellstrom, founder of NeW at Boston University. As you will be able to tell in reading this, Mara has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for NeW. She has been a pleasure to work with and we look forward to working with her throughout the year!
Q: How did you first hear about NeW?
A: I first heard about NeW online. I was boarding a plane, downloading some goodies onto my Kindle and somehow came across NeW's book list and immediately downloaded every book listed! I perused the site and came to realize this was something BU would seriously benefit from.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you became involved in NeW?
A: As President of the Boston University College Republicans, I am constantly confronted by progressive feminists who claim conservatism and feminism are at odds. I knew this wasn't the case but I never knew quite how to articulate it. Conservatism is color-blind and knows no sex or gender. After doing some research, I decided a NeW chapter was not only a great addition to BU, but also was necessary to serve as a meeting place for conservative young women looking to combat those who feel conservatism and feminism are pitted against each other. It's simply untrue.
Q: What appeals to you about NeW?
A: In this day and age, networking is a must. But, where do you start? Sure, through internships and volunteering for campaigns, I've met some wonderful people. But NeW provides a lasting group of motivated conservative-minded women interested in debunking the myth that feminism is a progressive ideal. Advocating for women's rights is not a left-wing ideal. NeW exposes this and embraces gender differences without infringing upon individual rights.
Q: What made you want to start a NeW chapter?
A: Though I am graduating in May 2014, I wanted to leave a mark on my campus that would last far past my graduation date. A young, female conservative in Boston? Some people avoid me like the plague, or worse yet, scoff at my beliefs and dismiss them as radical and/or obsolete. College is a time for exploration and NeW provides a friendly environment for women to explore. The time is right for collegiate women to band together and discuss how current events are affecting us.
Q: Why is having a NeW chapter on campus so important to you?
A: My political beliefs stem from my value system and I carry them with me every day. Providing a platform for like-minded women to come together and actually talk about feminism and conservatism without the fear of stepping on anyone's toes is crucial in a college environment. When dissecting political beliefs, fact-based discussion is crucial, and to be frank, far too uncommon on college campuses across the country.
Q: How do you benefit from being a part of NeW? What is the best part of being involved in NeW?
A: All women benefit from being a part of NeW. There are no ulterior motives. In providing a platform for pure political discussion, free of indoctrination and screaming matches, those interested are women who simply want to examine their own beliefs and build from there. NeW is the creme de la creme! It makes networking easy and strengthens relationships among motivated young women. As an official chapter, we are also able to bring speakers to campus which I immensely look forward to doing this year.
Q: What makes you most excited about being a part of NeW?
A: I'm most excited to meet with women and discuss politics and feminism in a judgment-free zone. There's no use in denying that feminism strikes a nerve with most women. Being part of NeW allows for friendly and fact-based discussion on issues that pertain to us as young women. I look forward to meeting with wonderful people and seeing what comes out of our meetings.