For the first time in Provo history, the top leadership positions in most major governmental bodies are women.
Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner is the chairwoman of the Utah County Commission, Michelle Kaufusi is the first female mayor of Provo, Katrice MacKay and Rachel Whipple are the chair and vice chair of the City Council, Shannon Ellsworth is chair of the Redevelopment Agency, Lisa Jensen serves as chair of the Planning Commission and all members of the school board are women.
Whipple encouraged BYU students to get involved in local government and knows how much young adults can affect the government.
She wants BYU students to be engaged and register to vote — to recognize they are part of the community.
“There’s a perception in our city that students are not part of the city and I hate this — I hate this so much because you’re living here. You’re contributing to our economy. You need to have a say,” she said.
She encourages students to find what they’re passionate about — such as diversity, equity or compassion.
“If you don’t speak up and say that to your elected officials and don’t participate by voting, then they’re going to ignore you and you’re going to live in a community that doesn’t pay attention to your interests … I don’t want that for you,” she said.
Whipple, a BYU graduate and long-time Provo resident, has seen very few students participate in the community. However, she applauds those that do.
“The ones that do are phenomenal. I know that if all of you could just spend a little bit of time in here, you would transform Provo in ways that the rest of Provo would be stunned by,” she said.
Whipple says showing up for your community is what’s most important.