Allie, Jessica, and I rose around 4 a.m. and packed the car to make the four hour trip from Charleston to Raleigh. Though it was an early morning, we drove with enthusiasm in our hearts and hot coffee in our hands as we watched the sunrise. We were ready to attend NeW’s first ever #ShesConservative Summit. The three of us originally met at NeW’s Young Women’s Leadership Retreat that previous summer. Being an incoming freshman at the College of Charleston, meeting Allie and Jessica was such a relief — making connections with other conservative women just like myself before I even started my first year on a college campus. After the retreat, we returned to CofC with hopes of starting a NeW Chapter.
After being lost for a good ten minutes, we finally arrived at our destination, the John Locke Foundation, where the color pink was more than prominent and we were greeted by coordinators Jenny DeMarco and Vanessa Rivera. Women attended from as close as UNC-Charlotte to as far as the University of Kansas. Though we were a small group, it was important to me to see that several women from such a far distance dedicated their Saturday afternoon to a time for conservative discussion.
During the Summit we had the opportunity to hear from many informative speakers including Kelsey Mix from The Leadership Institute, and Demi Dowdy from The Civitas Institute. From these two women, we learned about activism and promoting conservative values on campus, planning a successful NeW event, and writing op-eds in order to make our voices heard on issues we’re passionate about. After a light lunch, we participated in a resume and cover letter workshop where we all realized ours could use a much-needed update. We also did an interview workshop to discover ways to land our dream jobs. Most important to me was learning how to successfully run a NeW Chapter on campus. In this workshop I learned how to get people involved, how to plan our events, how to run our social media accounts, and many additional insights. This was more than helpful to me being the vice president and social media coordinator for our brand new NeW chapter. When I originally had no idea what I was doing, I returned to CofC more confident and more than ready to get people involved.
To conclude the day, we had a discussion panel with two impressive young women — Anna Beavon Gravely of Americans for Prosperity, and Emma Harrison of North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Forest’s office. This was one of the most informative parts of the day — hearing from young women just like ourselves and learning to be strong in the work force and making our voices heard. Lastly, we all gathered for dinner at The Station where we had an enlightening discussion with Jenna Robinson, President at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, about improving higher education. Oh, and I can’t forget our photo shoot with the famous “NeW” and “This is what a conservative looks like” banners, as well as our t-shirts.
Had I not gotten involved with NeW, I feel like my first semester of college would’ve been a much different experience thus far, and would be going down a different path. I am ever-thankful for Network of enlightened Women, and the programs and opportunities it offers. I am even more so thankful for the network it creates in a world where conservative women need to empower each other and build each other up. Empowering women empower women. The #ShesConservative Summit made transitioning into our NeW Chapter such a smooth task. Jessica, Allie, and I are more than excited for this new journey with NeW, and more than thrilled to introduce others to such an amazing organization full of opportunity this upcoming semester and for years to come.
NeW at College of Charleston