School of Public Affairs senior Crystal Shatzer Espie will be sworn in to the D.C. Commission for Women as one of its youngest members on July 26. She hopes to forge closer ties between the D.C. community and AU through her appointment.
The D.C. Commission for Women is a 21-member commission founded in 1967 that addresses women’s empowerment issues through community service, education, law and social welfare, according to its website.
“The commission generally deals with common issues like public safety, domestic violence, education, legislation, and women’s empowerment, but other than these there is a lot of leeway for the individual to help shape the commission’s agenda,” Executive Director Terese Lowery said.
After a lack of funding under former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, the commission had 20 vacant seats and was shut down for a year. Current D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray revitalized it by providing adequate funding, according to Lowery. All 21 seats will be filled July 26, two of whom are returning members.
Espie said she applied for the commission after seeing an advertisement in the AU Student Government’s Women’s Initiative’s monthly newsletter. She believed she had a good chance of being appointed with her background in politics and women’s studies.
Espie said her main goals are to promote education for women and expand on the commission’s existing financial literacy program. This program offers resources where women can learn to establish proper savings plans and budgets.
“I want there to be more involvement of students in D.C. so we at AU mesh more with the community rather than have school and D.C. separate,” Espie said. “I want it to be something that students are really integrated with.”
Espie said she also plans to expand her studies to D.C. through the Women’s and Gender Studies honors society, Iota Iota Iota. As president and co-founder of the society, she said she wants to have new members perform volunteer work to encourage student involvement in the D.C. community.
With a new agenda in progress, Lowery sees Espie’s appointment as an opportunity to bring a young perspective to the issues and services the commission provides.
“We are excited about having Crystal,” Lowery said. “Her youthful energy and perspective to relate to college students express the importance of civil engagement.”
As a political science and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies double major, Espie said her appointment is an opportunity to apply her studies to the D.C. community.
“It’s really fantastic being on the commission,” Espie said. “As a student I’m here doing something with my degree.”