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Women for Political Change: More Than Your Average Student Group

Women for Political Change (WFPC) is an up-and-coming student group unique to the University of Minnesota. The executive board for WFPC is a team of undergraduates who are passionate about empowering other women and femmes to use their voice not only for politics but for anything that they believe in. Although the group is called Women for Political Change and is a classified as a student group, members don’t have to be women, students or affiliated with a particular political party. Women for Political Change is a progressive in that one of its primary goals is to be as inclusive as possible, and they strive to be a nonpartisan safe space for anyone to express their ideas and become more educated about important political and social issues. I met with some current members, including Felicia Philibert, Olivia Hanson, Gina Ristani and Aurin Chowdhury, to hear what Women for Political Change means to them and to our campus.

Q: How did the group start?

Felicia: Aurin and I were looking for a way to get involved but didn’t find any group what was fulfilling what we wanted to get involved in. There’s no place to be a minority and talk about politics. There’s cultural groups and there’s political groups and there’s the women’s center and feminist groups, but there’s nothing that combines everything…

Aurin: Yeah, we looked for it on [Student Unions and Activities], couldn’t find it and we thought, let’s make it.

(Sidenote: Most of the executive board are also the founders of WFPC, and started the club as first-year undergraduate students in the Fall of 2015.)

Q: Why did you want to have this kind of group on campus?

Olivia: Political change goes through so many different outlets. If you go to other student groups they are very party-driven… there’s a lot of single-issue groups and student on-campus type stuff, which is good and what we need, but you want to get off of campus too.

Aurin: When you don’t have a connections automatically to politics, [it’s important] to find a way to get involved or even learn about it, like how to caucus or register to vote.

Felicia: I think our group is very informal compared to a lot of other groups, too. It’s a community and a place to feel comfortable to get together and hang out. We don’t just like bring in someone to talk at us…and free pizza. 

Aurin: We want to members to leave with something on their resume, but we also want it to be a meaningful experience.

Q: What events are you most excited about?

Gina: Women’s Week! We’re doing a spring networking brunch, and then we’re also going a show.

(The show is in reference to an upcoming event that the group organized last year for the first time. The event features live music  and entertainment and is a great opportunity to network as well as fundraise for causes they support.)

Felicia: We have some core stuff that we’re working on… but just educating people. 

The group also serves a great resource for members, students and the community. By connecting with elected officials, like Ilhan Omar, WFPC acts as an important asset and resource to those who would like to be more engaged in politics. You can follow WFPC on Instagram and keep track of all their events on the Facebook page. Ultimately, Women for Political Change is here for you. Take advantage of a great way to make new connections to people and resources, get informed and engaged in your campus and community and an outlet to express your political views in a space that is welcoming, inclusive and thriving.

To get more involved with Women for Political Change, definitely free up your Tuesday nights to meet in Bruininks Hall 131b from 6-7pm. Come hang out, build your community on campus, learn more about politics and get inspired. Thank you to the members of WFPC that participated in the interview, which includes President Felicia Philibert, Vice President Olivia Hanson, Event Coordinator Aurin Chowdhury, Treasurer Gina Ristani, Secretary Ana Mendoza Packham and members Hannah Kloos and Shivani Venkatesh.

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