Chelsea Sheldon, a rising junior at Vassar College, is a student advocate of political and social accessibility. Chelsea has devoted time to volunteer, intern, and organize for political campaigns and promote voting rights. She is particularly focused on the power of the youth voice and vote. Chelsea has co-founded a youth-run social media page dedicated to community organizing in Minnesota, she worked for ¡Hágase Contar! La Campaña del Censo 2020 in New York, registered peers as a Vassar Voting Advisor, facilitated meetings and social media for a student-led Poughkeepsie podcasting collective, phone-banked for several local and state-wide NY election campaigns, and volunteered for Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley.
As a double major in Education and Drama, my path to community organizing may appear a nonsensical one. I could not disagree more. My path is a product of a belief that meaningful change requires innovative policy founded on diverse methodologies. Indeed, our nation’s leaders would be better at their jobs if they were better public speakers and better educators. It was a logical decision, therefore, to major in both disciplines. My preference for the untraditional similarly grounds my approach to activism. I am not interested in the credentials typical of politicians, but in the passion and approach that undergirds their messaging. It is those stories that fascinate and excite me to be and do better. With the help of the Newman Fellowship, I aspire to work alongside peers who are equally committed to the pursuit of kind, respectful, but ultimately unconventional change. After all, it is by not only accepting but welcoming unique and optimistic young people to our decision-making tables that the understanding necessary to serve the multitude of American voices is realized.