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D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh honored at Icons of D.C. event

PRSSA, KPU and SOC hosted the event on Sept. 25

D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh urged AU students to get involved in local politics at an event honoring her on Sept. 25 in the Doyle-Forman Theater, hosted by the AU Public Relations Student Society of America, the Kennedy Political Union and the School of Communication. Cheh was this year’s recipient of the second annual Icons of D.C. award. 

“We wanted to thank Mary Cheh for her service and all she’s done for the community,” said senior and PRSSA president Jolene Levesque. 

AU’s chapter of PRSSA, which is made up of roughly 100 students, created the Icons of D.C. event last year to honor local leaders for their work in the community.

After receiving the award, Cheh spoke about her work as a council member for Ward 3, which includes American University Park and the surrounding areas. She has been on the council since 2007 and has introduced over 400 bills.

“Go out and go forth because you’re the people we have to count on,” said Cheh. “Don’t forsake working at the local and state level on issues that are of importance to you.”

Cheh then took questions from moderators Jane Hall, SOC professor, and Sydney Wishnow, junior and vice president of PRSSA. She also took questions from the audience, covering topics from ethics to the bills that she has introduced.

Cheh spoke about her environmental work and initiatives to increase sustainability throughout D.C., commending AU for being at the forefront of sustainability across D.C. universities.

“Many of the things that I’ve done are complementary to what I think is a hallmark of this university – namely, it’s own environmental activism and commitment to the environment,” said Cheh. 

Cheh also answered questions about topical issues like vaping and D.C. statehood. The councilmember explained that a lot of these issues weren’t being solved because of the slow-moving process of federal politics, which is why students should get involved at the local level.

Several students said they left the event feeling encouraged, including freshman SIS major Eduardo Castellet Nogués, who attended the event to learn more about D.C. politics. 

“She was so passionate,” said Castellet Nogués. “I don’t always think about the local level of politics and how important it is, so this was really inspiring.”

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