Learn more about the NeW movement.
The NeW Story
In the fall of 2004, Karin Agness returned to the University of Virginia after an internship in Washington, DC and sought out an organization in which college women could talk about public policy, including conservative ideas. She decided to approach the campus Women’s Center and asked a staff woman if they might be interested in co-sponsoring a new group for conservative university women. Her response? She laughed and said “not here.”
Despite the ridicule, Karin founded a book club for conservative college women and called it the Network of enlightened Women, known as NeW. Within a year, women on other campuses heard about NeW and wanted to start their own chapters. NeW began expanding nationally, growing one chapter at a time.
The message was clear: conservative women on campuses across the country needed NeW.
Chapters began meeting to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing women today, as well as current national issues. NeW was originally started as a book club, so that members could read about ideas that were often left off college syllabi and forgotten on college campuses. As NeW has expanded, many NeW chapters also seek to educate their campus communities by hosting speakers, holding debates, participating in philanthropic efforts, and writing articles. Today, NeW is present on more than 30 college campuses. As former NeW members graduate, they wanted to stay involved, so we have formed young professional and alumnae chapters.
In addition to campus programs, NeW hosts national events including an annual National Conference in June in Washington, DC, a contest honoring upstanding gentlemen called The Gentlemen Showcase, a Young Women’s Leadership Retreat, and multiple professional development trainings. NeW has been covered by TIME, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, the Associated Press, POLITICO, and many other publications. Join the NeW movement today by starting a chapter, attending an event, or donating.
Meet the leaders of NeW who are working to create a community of strong conservative values for women on college campuses!
Social Media Coordinator
Campus Program Associate
Alumnae Network Director
Alumnae Network Communications Assistant
Alumnae Network Communications Director
NeW DC Director
NeW DC Events Chair
NeW DC Publicity Chair
NeW DC Assistant Director
NeW NYC Director
NeW NYC Assistant Director
NeW NYC Public Relations
NeW is making a difference on campus. Why should you start a chapter? Here is what some leaders from across the country say about their NeW experience:
“NeW is important because it provides an alternative for young, university women on college campuses to learn both sides of the political spectrum and discuss them in a safe and encouraging space. These women are beginning to explore themselves for the first time, and they should be able to explore all beliefs and discuss their feelings without judgment or ridicule. NeW provides this space, and I love being an agent of kindness and enlightenment.” -Krista Chavez of American University
“NeW helped me to become empowered to speak up about my values. This was important in my college experience as learning about yourself and who you are as a person, is just as important as academics. I learned to be confident in who I am as a conservative woman and to become actively involved in organizations and opportunities that help me express my beliefs and ideas!” -Reagan High of Western Carolina University
“NeW is important because it gives young women the opportunity to cultivate their own thoughts and beliefs in a positive way.” -Sydney Berman of Boston University
“My life would not be the same if I had not gotten involved with NeW earlier this year. The incredible role models and leaders that I’ve been connected with through the Network of enlightened Women have truly inspired me to be politically active by openly and proudly voicing my conservative views in private circles, on social media, in a campus newspaper and, with NeW’s help, national publications. The community of women that I’ve gotten to know from across the country through NeW includes some of the most dedicated, compassionate, and truly gifted people I’ve met, and it’s wonderful to know that there are people throughout the nation who share so many of my views, experiences, and passions.” -Emily Hall of Harvard University
Click below to view our semester report, Enlightened Ink. The report features articles on NeW events, senior spotlights, and notes from our donors on why they support NeW.