The ASUI Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to allocate funding toward sending University of Idaho students to the NEW Leadership Idaho 2017 conference that will be held at Boise State University from May 21 to May 27.
The NEW Leadership is a national bi-partisan program developed by the Center for American Women and Politics, designed “to address the under-representation of women in American politics.” The program’s resolution is to represent a wide range of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial and educational backgrounds, and academic majors at the conference.
Director of Student Involvement Shawn O’Neal said the bill allocates an additional $1,000 from the ASUI Senate Allocations Budget to the Department of Student Involvement (DSI) to send two to four female students to represent UI at the conference at no cost to the student.
Sen. Nina Rydalch, who works for The Argonaut, said the ASUI Senate Allocations Budget is a secondary source of funding for student organizations and it has a total of $5,000 for the academic year.
Rydalch said it costs students $500 to attend the program and DSI already had enough money to send two students to Boise, but wanted additional funding to send at least two more, if enough interest was shown.
Sen. Haleigh Sims-Douglas said the conference has been going on for the past four years, but UI hasn’t been able to send a delegate until now.
“I think that us finally participating in such an amazing program and an amazing opportunity that is specifically for our state is really, really great,” Sims-Douglas said.
Sims-Douglas said the conference invites college women from across Idaho to develop leadership skills and to learn more about the political processes within the state.
ASUI Pro-Tempore Mattie Cupps said the students will learn more about how the state government functions and be given a real problem that legislators are trying to address.
Sims-Douglas said students are still able to apply for the program on VandalSync until March 31, but DSI will only consider applicants who aren’t graduating in May.
“One of the biggest things that the program wants to accomplish is for the students attending to bring back the skills they gained at the conference to their individual universities,” Sims-Douglas said.
Sen. Catherine Yenne said she hopes the students will bring what they’ve learned back to UI and better the campus through involvement within leadership roles and other organizations.
“This is a great opportunity for young women, for young students, to interact with other female leaders,” Yenne said. “Hopefully attending this conference will give these women the confidence that it takes to become a more proactive student leader.”
Yenne said she supported the bill because she is an advocate for women in leadership and the conference is a great way to help students get that exposure. She also said it was fitting the bill was passed on International Women’s Day.
Yenne and Sims-Douglas said they encouraged any and all to consider applying.
“We do have a different perspective than other college campuses in the state, we are in a different spot and we have different aims. I think that if we can represent that (at the NEW Leadership program), then it’s all worthwhile,” Yenne said.
Olivia Heersink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @heersinkolivia