50/50 in 2020 to host conference

ANTHONY WITHEROW, Campus Life Editor

UNI’s Department of Political Science and the student group 50/50 in 2020 will be hosting the You’re Next Leadership Conference from 12 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 in the Maucker Union ballrooms. The conference will focus on womens’ involvement in government and public service in Iowa.

“This event is going to have something for everyone,” said Elle Boeding, president of 50/50 in 2020. “We’re trying to make this a holistic approach to government and public service for all people.”

The conference will begin with a keynote presentation from Karen Kedrowski discussing women in politics at a national level, followed by a “lunch and learn” session about the women’s suffrage movement, its history and womens’ involvement then versus now, hosted by Barbara Cutter. 

Once lunch ends at 1 p.m., students will break out into two sessions. The first breakout session choice is a political campaign crash-course about everything you will need to know when running a political campaign. The other session, titled “Change-Makers,” will discuss how you can make a difference in your community even if you don’t want to run for office.

At 2 p.m., students can choose from two more breakout sessions, one discussing men’s role in supporting female leaders and the other discussing political civility and how the rhetoric of “sit still and look pretty” affects women differently.

Following this, all students will join again for an elected official panel to hear from State Representative Timi Browns-Powers, City Councilwoman Sasha Wohlpart and NISG Director of Diversity Mahlia Brown. The conference will end with comments on how to get involved in student government at 3:45 p.m.

The You’re Next Conference has existed for four years, originally titled the “Elect Her” conference and geared more toward women in its previous iteration. Event organizers decided to rename the conference “You’re Next” to provide a more inclusive approach.

“We’re hoping to create an environment where everyone feels that they can learn, regardless of how they identify,” Boeding said. “Also, to make sure that we have a supportive campus climate for diverse individuals who want to run for office.”

Boeding is very proud of the amount of outreach her organization has done with NISG. Inviting first- and second-year women, as well as other individuals with diverse identities, has helped NISG become much more representative of UNI’s student population than ever.

“When women win, everyone else wins,” Boeding said. “It’s really exciting that we get to be a part of this.”