On most college campuses across the country, conservative women are a minority. Vastly outnumbered by their Hillary worshiping, hybrid driving, hippy peers and professors, it is easy for right-wing college women to feel too intimidated to speak up and challenge loudmouth feminist liberals.
Danielle Sturgis is not one of these college students. The recipient of the Network of Enlightened Women’s “NeW Leader of the Year” award, the Drake University senior spoke at the organization’s first annual conference, held last week on Capitol Hill.
The activist group’s founder and president, Karin Agness, organized the conference, “A NeW Generation of Women,” to recognize four new college chapters and to encourage conservative college students interning in Washington this summer, to start chapters at their own universities.
Agness urged attendees to not let the “next generation be a now generation, but a NeW generation.”
The group was founded in September 2004 at the University of Virginia. NeW’s mission is to “foster the education and leadership skills of conservative university women” and to “[expand] the intellectual diversity on college campuses.”
NeW was originally started as a book club, but quickly became a successful political activist group, with chapters in Virginia, Idaho, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Alabama.
When interning last summer in Washington, D.C., Sturgis met Agness, who told her about NeW. Sturgis was tired of the “monopoly” the feminist movement had on women in general, and of the dominant role the feminist women’s studies department played at her university. She described Drake as having “a campus with very little respect for the exchange of ideas.” So she returned to school that fall, inspired to start her own conservative women’s group and “change the norm.”
Sturgis orchestrated a variety of events at her university, including “Freedom Week” this past November, complete with a “Love Your Second Amendment Day,” for which she organized a target-shooting event at a near by range. She also planned a “Male Oppression Awareness Day,” (an anti-Vagina Monologues event) and a birthday party for former President Ronald Reagan in the spring.
The reaction from the Drake student body, along with the university’s feminist liberal organization, Women’s Awareness Coalition, which Sturgis coined as “WAC,” was one of great hostility. “I realized that we had really hit something that was getting people worried,” said Sturgis.
She said her goal in creating the organization was to give a voice to those who were not represented on Drake’s campus, because she felt that “an alternative ought to be offered.”
But despite all the opposition Sturgis faced, she continued to project her conservative values, never apologizing for her “pro-life, pro-family and pro-guns” beliefs. At the conference she advised college women to not just simply be reactionary in their approach to liberal backlash, but instead to put new ideas on the table for discussion.
“If you are doing a good job with your activism, you should be exhausted,” she said. “You have to fight fire with fire.”
This summer, Sturgis is interning at Regnery Publishing, a sister company to HUMAN EVENTS. Both she and I are participating in the Fund for American Studies’ Institute for Political Journalism.