BOV member Elizabeth Cranwell speaks to University Democrats

U.Va. alumna discusses Bicentennial Scholars Fund

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University BOV member Elizabeth Cranwell 

Hannah Mussi | Cavalier Daily

University Board of Visitors member Elizabeth Cranwell spoke to the University Democrats at their meeting Wednesday night, where she discussed different funds the Board has set up as well as her personal experience as a former University student.

Cranwell is a University alumna and a former University Democrats member. She was appointed to the Board by Gov. Terry McAuliffe for a four-year term that began July 1, 2016.

University Democrats President and third-year Curry student Brett Curtis said the organization reached out to a Board member because they felt it was time to have one present at one of their meetings.

“We felt that it was time to reach out to a member of the Board of Visitors and Mrs. Cranwell was very receptive to come and talk to us about what is going on in the community,” Curtis said.

Cranwell said she is working on getting more in touch with the University community so she can be a proactive board member.

“I am trying very hard to get my hands around all of the things happening at [the University],” Cranwell said. “If it affects student life we want to know about it.”

Cranwell also addressed the University Democrats “First 100 Days” initiative and encouraged students — regardless of political affiliation — to write letters to the Board so that they can make informed decisions.

“It’s something we had spread far and wide and it can be something as simple as reading the DNC or RNC platform or third party platform, reading a book by a former politician, donating or participating in a march or cause or something that you agree with,” Curtis said in an interview. “So that’s something clearly that even the Board of Visitors took note of which is very exciting to see that they were getting involved in the things going on around Grounds.”

The conversation largely centered around funding at the University. Cranwell cited the creation of the Bicentennial Scholars Fund as one specific effort the University has undertaken to support financial aid.

The Bicentennial Scholars Fund was created by the Board of Visitors in December and is an endowment to support AccessUVA. The Strategic Investment Fund matches $1 for every $2 donated to the fund on donations of $100,000 or more and a dollar-for-dollar match on donations $1 million or more.

Cranwell also brought up the Board of Visitors meeting being held Thursday, during which the Board plans to elect the next student member of the Board.

“We are meeting today with finalists and will vote tomorrow late afternoon about [the] student member,” Cranwell said. “That’s something to keep an eye out for.”

At the end of the meeting, Cranwell spoke directly to the women of University Democrats and called for more women in political leadership roles. She is also a board member of Emerge VA, an organization which focuses on training and encouraging women to run for public office.

“I hope you think about running. Step up,” Cranwell said. “We need women in leadership. We’re over half the population. We need to be running for office.”

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