Grace Palmer, Amelia Irvine, Erica Lizza, Claire Smith, and Stacy Hartman give us an inside look at NeW at Georgetown!
What does it mean to be a conservative?
Grace: “To me, being a conservative means accountability, opportunity, hope, and the promise of a bright future. Conservative values allow us to pursue our aspirations without heavy government restrictions and instill lifelong principles of fiscal responsibility and the belief in liberty for all.”
Amelia: “Conservatism isn’t just an ideology, it’s a lifestyle. To me, it means that I not only hold conservative principles, but also try to implement them in my own life. That means that I am responsible with my money, that I take responsibility for my actions, that I give help to those who need me, and that I treat everyone with respect.”
Erica: “To me, being conservative means advocating for individual liberty and opportunity.”
Claire: “To me, being a conservative is someone who believes in limited government and fiscal responsibility, as well as the belief that all Americans can be successful. It does not mean excluding people for the color of their skin, their gender, or any other personal characteristics, as it is unfortunately stereotyped. While I fall more moderate in the spectrum, I believe in the American Dream for all. My great-grandfather campaigned for Edward Brooke in 1966, and my aunt worked for George W. Bush, and I believe in civil rights for all, through respect and dignity.”
Stacy: “Being a conservative, to me, means that I believe in free market principles and in the premise behind the American dream. The conservative ideology is conducive to providing the opportunity to start from humble beginnings and make something of yourself.”
What kind of impact has your chapter had on your campus?
Grace: ”While we are just starting out, I believe that our chapter can have a significant impact on campus. We are welcoming to all, and are looking to promote intellectual diversity through speakers, books, and discussions. I think that our chapter fits a new niche on campus that people will be excited to learn more about and participate in!”
Amelia: “ Though we’re just starting out, our exec board is really excited that we have had the chance to connect with each other and to start to grow our community of strong, conservative women.”
Erica : “Though our NeW chapter is still new (please excuse the pun), we’ve been able to attract curiosity about the conservative movement from people who wouldn’t necessarily identify as Republicans. Expanding people’s conceptions about what it means to be a conservative and the kind of people who are conservatives is an important aspect of what we do.”
Claire: “I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: being a conservative woman can be difficult. NeW Georgetown is still a fledgling chapter, but I think it is necessary to foster dialogue on a liberal-leaning campus. Many people, myself included, can be shy about their conservative beliefs, fearing backlash, but I think that a group like NeW is something so desperately needed. There is the negative stereotype that all conservatives are white men who want to wreak havoc on the health care system, and, it is time for us at NeW Georgetown to break the stigma.”
Stacy: “Our chapter just began on campus, but I believe it will make a great impact because the number of female conservatives who are open about their ideas and opinions is small. I think we will help with getting female republicans to be comfortable in expressing their beliefs.”
What book is your chapter reading this semester? Why did you choose it?
Grace: “This semester, we’ve been focused on working with Georgetown to become an officially recognized club on campus. Because of this, we have unfortunately been unable to read a book. Next semester, we are planning on reading The Conservative Heart by Arthur Brooks. This book was chosen because we feel that it takes a compassionate and proactive approach to policy through the utilization of conservative ideals.”
Amelia: “We’re hoping to read Arthur Brook’s A Conservative Heart next semester. A friend lent me this book over the summer to read, and I absolutely love it. Brooks presents a guidebook for conservatives who want to advocate for their policy preferences in a way that touches the hearts of the listener. By fighting for people, instead of against things, Brooks believes that conservative policy will be able to win the day and help millions of people worldwide.”
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a chapter?
Grace: “I would say go for it! Stay organized and be persistent, but once you see your hard work pay off, it’s totally worth it!”
Amelia: “If you want it, go for it! Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, so just write down a list of things you’d need to do to get started. Choose one of those things and do it. Then the rest will follow.”
Erica: “Create a vision both for your organization and for your leaders, but still be open to new ideas. You may need to adjust the goals or strategies of your organization, and that’s okay!”
Claire: “I would say to get out there and do it! There is no one to tell you not to, and I think that NeW maintains a “safe” space for all women to share their beliefs. While there are many women who are thriving in politics, the most notable are liberal, while conservative women like Hope Hicks and Condoleeza Rice, regardless of whether you agree with them or not, are viewed as mouthpieces for their male bosses, spineless, and are ruthlessly insulted.”
Stacy:”I would advise someone who wants to start a chapter to market conservatism in a positive light to everyone on campus, not just already professed Republicans.”
What does NeW mean to you?
Grace: “For me, NeW is a national network of strong, accomplished conservative women looking to spread their wisdom and lift others up. I am so happy to be apart of NeW!”
Amelia: “For me, NeW is a U.S.-wide network of conservative women who are fighting for the same ideals and principles as I am. That’s powerful and encouraging to know that there are tons of other young women out there who want to spread conservative ideas.”
Erica: “As an organization, NeW affirms the important role conservative women have both within the conservative movement and in the intellectual-political sphere as a whole.”
Claire: “NeW is a place where all women can thrive, and focus on facilitating dialogue across the aisle. As a strong supporter of female empowerment, I believe that it is necessary for women to have a group to share their ideas, particularly when they are not seen as the norm by some social movements. I consider myself a conservative feminist, believing in the social, political, and economic equality of women, but the two terms appear to be oxymoronic. Being a member of NeW means that women can stand up for their right-leaning beliefs, against those who routinely say that any Republican woman is betraying her own gender. We at NeW Georgetown are the future of American politics, and encouraging conservative women to speak out about their beliefs will build confidence and stand strong!”
Stacy: “NeW is meaningful for me because it provides a space for me to talk about my conservative beliefs with women who can relate. In the College Republicans chapter on campus, the majority of the club is made up of men so it is sometimes hard to connect.”