OGDEN, Utah – During the first two weeks of June, Weber State University will trade purple for red, white and blue. WSU has been home to Boys State for 28 years, and for the first time in its 66-year history, Utah Girls State also will convene at the university.
Girls State will be held June 2-7 and Boys State June 9-13. During the week long sessions, 600 students selected from across the state will create a mythical 51st state. Sponsored by the American Legion, the program takes students who have completed their junior year through the process of electing local, state and national leaders to acquaint them with elections and encourage them in future democratic engagement.
Girls State director Merilee Wilson said they signed a three-year contract with WSU for several reasons.
“Along with the pricing, we were extremely impressed with the staff, the campus and the available facilities,” she said. “We look forward to being at WSU this year.”
The new additions to WSU that attracted Girls State are the Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service and new housing facilities. Olene Walker, the first female governor of Utah, is the institute’s driving force and is “a good tie-in for the Girls State mission,” said Chad Mosher, Shepherd Union director of events.
“Weber State has always has always been supportive of strong female leadership. We’ve always demonstrated this commitment,” Mosher said. “I think that was attractive to the Girls State leaders.”
Special speakers for this year’s Girls State include Gov. Gary Herbert, Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell and female members of the Ogden City Council.
Different departments are coming together to prepare WSU for its visitors. Mosher said the Shepherd Union Building will be dressed in new banners. Also, visual arts assistant professor Jason Manley created a flag retirement rack for the Wildcat Village residence halls where the students will stay and participate in various flag ceremonies.
For more information about the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, visit boysandgirlsstate.org.
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Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.