College sophomore Lizzy Britton was elected the new chair of the Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women on March 27.
Britton sat down with The Daily Pennsylvanian to discuss her experience and goals for PCUW — the umbrella organization for women’s groups on campus.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: What have you been working on so far?
Lizzy Britton: Right now, we’re just working on touching base with our constituents, trying to find out what they think a good direction for PCUW would be because as an umbrella organization, our main goal is to be a network for our constituency, and one of my major themes as the chair next year is really getting an understanding of what our members want from us rather than just what we want to do for our members.
DP: What are your other goals for PCUW for the fall semester?
LB: Every fall we have a Love Your Body campaign as a major project. The thing with [the] Love Your Body campaign is that it is something that really touches a huge group of women on campus.
We’re hoping to reach out to groups on campus that maybe haven’t been involved in PCUW before or kind of lost touch with the group and really firm up our constituency and let women’s groups on campus know that PCUW is there to support them.
DP: What was the nature of your former involvement with PCUW?
LB: I joined PCUW last year as the publicity chair, and before that I hadn’t really heard about the group, but I just got involved in it when [the former chair] Meg [Hlousek] was chair.
DP: As publicity chair, what did you accomplish?
LB: The publicity chair role for this past year … meant that I was in charge of setting up posters and helping to organize the events. We have a very horizontal board, so anytime PCUW is putting on an event or collaborating on something we all work together.
DP: Why did you decide to run for chair?
LB: Having been involved in PCUW last year, I just kind of got the point when we were considering elections [that] our chair needs to be someone from the original board. I’d really like to be involved again and further my involvement with the group and really be able to help continue in the construction of PCUW and its advancement.
DP: Is it a rule that the new chair be from the board?
LB: Yes, it’s part of our constitution. Our chair has to be someone who was on the board, so considering who’s eligible, I thought, “I’ll give it a shot. I think I can do a good job.”
DP: What do you think of PCUW’s initiatives and advocacy work since you joined the group?
LB: I think a big project for us this past year was trying to have big intersectional events. We had Melissa Harris-Perry come, who is such a wonderful speaker.
We try to have events that can bridge the gaps between our constituents and bring together people on our campus who don’t necessarily have the opportunity to join PCUW events. It’s about bringing together the diversity of campus. …We have common interests as women but diverse facets.
DP: Do you think that awareness of PCUW’s role is missing right now with your constituent groups?
LB: I think that for the most part we have a very large constituency right now, so most of the groups who would be members of PCUW probably already are [members]. There are just a few groups that we haven’t had a chance to reach out to or are new organizations. But I think that people know about PCUW.
DP: Has Adrienne given you any tips for success in your new position?
LB: Adrienne’s been a huge help in getting me situated in the role and making sure I know, especially as a sophomore, kind of what the ropes are because most chairs have been juniors and had a little more experience.
But Adrienne has made sure that even though I have not been on the board for a long time, I know what to expect. I don’t think I would have had the guts to go out for chair if it had not been for her.
She’s also [told me about] the idea that PCUW [has] always [been] an organization that is set up to change when it needs to and not necessarily be limited by what PCUW has done in the past but be able to kind of adapt to new needs on campus.
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