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Campaign Training for Women

2018 Elect Her Training

Running Start, a nonpartisan national organization that trains women on how to run for elected office, will be on Duke’s campus January 27 to lead a workshop for college women. The training will run from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Co-chaired by two Republican and two Democratic members of Congress, Running Start leads similar trainings not only on campuses across the country, but also in communities where women want to learn how to run for local, state, and national positions.

Sponsored by Duke’s Center for Political Leadership, Innovation, and Service (POLIS), the Running Start training will give Duke women tools to nurture their leadership abilities and achieve greater civic and political influence both on campus and post-graduation (local, state, and federal positions).

The 2018 Elect Her training will take place on Saturday, January 27, from 11am-2pm. Sign up using the form below:


2017 Elect Her Training

Approximately 40 female Duke students gathered for nearly five hours on Sunday, March 5 to participate in an interactive campaign workshop.  Sponsored by Duke’s Center for Political Leadership, Innovation, and Service (POLIS) and Duke Assistant Professor Deondra Rose, the event was led by Susannah Wellford—the founder and president of nonpartisan organization Running Start.

Based on the principle that the U.S. needs more women in elected positions, Running Start has operated nationally for a decade, providing the knowledge, support, encouragement, and inspiration many young women seek when considering running.

When it comes to gender representation in the U.S. government, the numbers are staggering: women comprise only 19.4% of Congress and are similarly severely underrepresented in the North Carolina state legislature.  Ms. Wellford shared a recent study showing Rwanda is #1 in the percentage of women occupying national legislative seats.  Bolivia and Cuba are #’s 2 and 3.

The U.S. finds itself at #101.

Tara Bansal, president of Duke Student Government, shared her sentiments on what it was like as a woman to run multiple times for elected office.  She discussed the importance of being true to oneself—something echoed by Leslie Boyd, at-large board member of Union County (NC) Public Schools.  Ms. Boyd urged the workshop attendees to remember that “No one can ever take your vote.  No one can ever take your voice.”

All three speakers fielded questions from students throughout the day, ranging from “Should I run if I’m not likely to win” to “How should I respond to negative attacks?”  The participants included first-year students, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and first- and second-year master’s students.  Each came to learn more about the ins and outs of running for an elected office, whether on campus or beyond.

The event ended with participants practicing and delivering a stump speech.  Ms. Wellford cautioned that while public speaking can be incredibly stressful for many people, overcoming one’s fears is a key step toward accomplishing more in life.

Ms. Wellford’s key takeaway for the students was a call to action: “You’re bright.  You’re talented.  You’re motivated.  If you don’t run, who will?”

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