Campus Program Associate Vanessa Rivera caught up with NeW at Florida Gulf Coast University President Sophie Studer, Co-Treasurer Siena Shirer, Secretary Bridget Schoffman, and Social Media Coordinator Sara Vaubel.
To you, what does it mean to be a conservative?
Sophie: I am proud to be a conservative because I believe it promotes smaller government and more freedom for the people of the United States to exist. By limiting the government with conservative policies, the people are able to better govern themselves.
Sara: Being conservative means staying loyal to the principles our founding fathers built.
Siena: Being conservative is keeping true to the traditions I was raised with. Being conservative, however, is not exclusive. Conservatives, especially women, have made great strides in our country by being an active participant is conversations about abortions, women’s rights, and free markets. Being conservative shows passion for personal responsibility, traditional American values, and individual liberty.
Bridget: I believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcome. Everyone has the choice to pursue his or her own dreams and desires. With hard work, so many people have beaten the odds. These values along with personal morals, dedication, and hard work allow us to create a better life.
What kind of impact has your chapter had on your campus?
Sophie: On our campus, we have focused on professional development as a way to get people involved and open up a dialogue about politics. We have also done a tabling event with the Free Speech Ball where students were able to come up and write whatever they wanted on the ball as a way of proving the importance of free speech on college campuses.
Sara: I believe our chapter has impacted our campus in many positive ways. We promote our club in a way of making everyone on campus feel comfortable and not pressured. Even though NeW has a conservative outlook, we make sure everyone feels welcome with their beliefs and values as well.
Siena: We meet monthly to discuss current political topics; however, our meetings are open to everyone: man or woman, conservative or not. We believe that to learn and build your own opinion, you must hear the opinions of others.
Bridget: NeW at FGCU has worked with some other organizations to offer freedom of speech on campus. This is so exciting because we are taking action on campus to make a difference.
What book is your chapter reading this semester? Why did you choose it?
Sophie: This semester we will be reading “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. We chose this book because it is all about self-empowerment, and I believe that it strongly resonates with NeW’s message; women should be empowering themselves and each other instead of waiting around for someone to change things for them.
Sara: We chose this book because it is such an empowering book. We thought it would help us as women in becoming more empowered in the workforce and the real world.
Siena: We believe that educating ourselves on one another and how we can lift one another up is the first and foremost important of education.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a chapter?
Sophie: I would want to let them know that it is difficult, and if you are willing to put in the work, you can definitely reap the benefits. I would tell them that since NeW is so young, it is an investment worth making as it expands and grows in the years to come.
Sara: I would say to just have fun with it while also giving women the chance to learn and grow in the professional world.
Siena: Starting a NeW chapter could be a great way to be involved in your campus, if you are not already! If you feel encouraged to start one, don’t be afraid to reach out to other NeW chapters, they can help! Stay organized, be tactful, and never give up!
What does NeW mean to you?
Sophie: NeW is a platform for conservative women to speak out about women’s issues in a different light. The liberal media dominates women’s issues, and organizations like NeW are important when it comes to opening up a dialogue and making changes about women and for women. A lot of times, the opinions of conservative women can be overlooked because the media is not willing to acknowledge them, but with NeW growing and expanding, we are becoming harder and harder to ignore.
Sara: NeW means so much to me. This club has brought so many opportunities to me that I never would of received before joining. I look at it as something that has brought me lifetime friends, as well as teaching me many things in the world of politics and also growing in the work force.
Siena: NeW has been such a growing stepping stone in my college career. I had been involved in many different types of organizations, but never that have helped me grow so much professionally.
Bridget: I have become more confident in talking about policies and current events and how they impact us as Americans. Before I found NeW, I did not partake in any discussion, but with my involvement, I have found a niche where I can talk about current events and policies that impact us!