by Dr. Emily Hess, Ashland University
In the spring of 2015, I attended the Women in Philanthropy summit at Otterbein University. During a session on youth in philanthropy, I introduced myself as then a member of the Women’s Fund in Ashland, Ohio and a history professor at Ashland University. After the session, the co-founder of 1girl, Shelby Kretz, introduced herself, explained 1girl, and asked if I would be interested in starting a chapter of 1girl at Ashland University. My response was immediate, “absolutely!”
Almost immediately upon my return to campus, I contacted a few students of mine who I had been meeting with regularly. I proposed the idea and their response was the same as mine, “absolutely!”
Early on, the students took initiative to get this chapter off the ground and running.
Halle Hershberger, the president of Ashland University’s 1girl chapter and a junior history major, has been instrumental in starting our chapter. Reflecting on the past year, Halle wrote, “in starting our chapter, I have loved seeing the interest other AU students have in the organization and their desire to serve. We are slowly growing, but I believe with time, our chapter will gain more members who have a desire to develop their own leadership skills.”
I know Halle well. She doesn’t have much time or energy outside her academic and extra-curricular responsibilities, but she believes in 1girl and the potential this chapter has in making a difference in the lives of young girls.
“I have been blessed to have strong, female role models who have encouraged me to dream big and be confident,” Halle wrote. “I realize some girls who participate in our after-school program may not have the same experience. Through 1girl, I hope to encourage the members of my chapter and the middle-school girls we mentor to be bold, confident, and use their talents to make the world a better place.”
Am I excited about 1girl coming to Ashland University with Halle Hershberger leading the charge? Absolutely.