By Thomas Curry
IGNITE, a new student organization aiming to encourage a bipartisan environment for students to openly express their opinions and beliefs, held its first meeting last week.
The event took place in Caldwell 117 on Thursday, March 28 at 7PM. The event was revolved around the organization’s goal of being a place that can foster friendships and build leadership skills by working together.
Founded by freshmen Jordan Farrell and Caroline Pitman, the organization was created in an attempt to make a diverse place for political conversation. Farrell and Pitman are both co-presidents, and are joined by Sophia Marsden as Treasurer and Monica Wallace as SGA Treasury Board Liaison overseeing the organization.
“IGNITE’s mission is to create a community on campus of politically engaged students working together to develop leadership skills, as well as increasing the number of women elected to public office,” Farrell said, “The club is non-partisan encourages open dialogue and friendship regardless of political ideology.”
The meeting brought two Capitol Hill staffers who hosted the event to lead a conversation amongst all who were at the meeting: Alex Karabatsos, a Legislative Correspondent, and Lisa DeGou, a scheduler. Both staffers work at the Office of Congresswoman Lori Trahan, a Democratic U. S. Representative for the 3rd District of Massachusetts.
During the event, the staffers talked about working on Capitol Hill, and IGNITE leaders talked about other leadership opportunities available within the organization. Food and refreshments were provided for all who attended. There are not currently any future events set in place, according to The Nest.
What makes IGNITE unique from other politically-based organizations on campus is its strong emphasis on inclusion of women, both within the organization and in society.
According to IGNITE’s mission statement, recently released on The Nest, “IGNITE aims to dramatically increase the pool of women who are prepared and eager to become the next generation of political leaders. Why? Women represent 51% of the population but only 20% of all elected offices. This has implications for every aspect of our lives: our health, our economic vitality, and the quality of our government, which thrives when all of our nation’s voices are represented.”
The student organization is aimed at women on campus, but is also open to men as well. Currently, there are three male students who are recognized on The Nest as members of IGNITE, and more are encouraged to come to meetings and other future events.
“We aim to create a strong, diverse community that will be able to help each other through college and beyond into the professional world,” Farrell said.
IGNITE is the most recent of politically-based student organizations such as College Democrats, College Republicans, Turning Point USA and Independent CUA. The organization is also the newest of a number of Service and Special Interest Organizations geared towards women, with a few being Women of CUA, Network of Enlightened Women, Kappa Tau Gamma and She’s the First.