Giving back to her community Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 03, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
erin moran
Waunakee Village Board Trustee Erin Moran stands outside the village hall. The 21-year-old Waunakee resident and Edgewood College student was recently elected to the board for a two-year term. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

WAUNAKEE — Talk to any typical college junior and most of them may have thoughts of graduating, getting a job, and moving away from home.

While 21-year-old Erin Moran certainly has some of those things on her mind, she recently started another after-school activity that most might not find typical.

The Edgewood College student and Waunakee resident was recently elected to the Village Board of Trustees, along with two others, getting 1,740 votes in the April 3 election.

On Election Night, the Waunakee Tribune, when reporting the results, called Moran “perhaps the youngest [village board trustee] in Waunakee history.”

Moran, who received the second-most votes, came out ahead of two incumbents, who had both served on the board for more than a decade, according to the Waunakee Tribune.

Active in her hometown and beyond

Moran is one of four daughters of parents Steph and John. They are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Waunakee.

She was a 2015 graduate of Waunakee High School, where she now coaches junior varsity lacrosse and assists with the varsity team.

At Edgewood College, she is currently studying communications, environmental science, and public relations and is the president of the Edgewood College chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

Many youth around the Diocese of Madison also know her as a staffer at Camp Gray, most often showing off her talents with photos and videos.

She is also involved at St. Paul University Catholic Center in downtown Madison.

With all of those things filling up her busy schedule, why take on another challenge, especially elected office?

Even at a younger age, Moran said that she was inspired by teachers who were on the village board and knew she wanted to “give back” to her community in the same way, someday.

“A lot of things fell into place in my life and doors were opened, and I felt like this was a good time to at least try,” said Moran.

“It wasn’t a given that I would win,” she added, but she wanted to try.

Moran called her process of deciding to run, a “discernment”.

She reflected on the notion of, “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called . . . knowing that I can rely on God.”

There was a lot of prayer and knowing, “I’m confident in whatever God’s plan is [and] this is part of it.”

She added, “I was just very amazed by how many people were supportive of me in such an early phase of even thinking about it, and then I really just got this feeling that this might be my year, this might be the time.”

She noted that her family was not shocked, but perhaps surprised she was choosing now to run for office, and against some of the incumbents.

“They were very supportive,” Moran said of her parents.

Praying and campaigning

After filing the appropriate paperwork in January of this year, Moran only had a few months to get the word out about her candidacy.

Using her talents and education, part of her efforts went to social media.

She started a Facebook page that had more than 500 likes.

On the page was a video a friend helped her produce, which let viewers learn about her and her vision for the future of the village.

“As a young person, that was a very natural place for me . . . getting my name out there . . . reaching people in a personal way,” said Moran.

Also as a young person, she didn’t let the thoughts of her age distract her from seeking her goal, and she knew a task ahead of her was, “How do I convince people that I can make good decision when I’m 21 years old?”

As Election Day got closer, anxious and nervous feelings set in.

“It was a feeling I’ve never had before,” said Moran.

She said it was like “applying for a job the village was choosing.”

The night of April 3 ended with a phone call that she was elected to the board.

“It’s very humbling to have been elected; it was very surreal the first couple days.”

Like coaching at her high school after graduating, and returning to Camp Gray as a staffer after being a long-time camper, Moran said it felt “so humbling to return to something in a way of service after being the one served,” by being on the Village Board.

Helping the community

Moran was sworn into her office two weeks after the election.

She is one of six trustees, who, along with the village president, make up the legislative body of the village.

Moran will be a part of committees for the library, parks and recreation, public works, and village center advisory.

With a new library being built, Moran said, “it’s an exciting time to be a part of that.”

As she starts her time serving her hometown, she reflected on why it was important for her to take on this challenge.

“I want to still be here in 40 years with my future kids and family, and I want to get involved when I can and make sure that the Waunakee I hope to raise my family in is the one that I got to be raised in.”

She added that it’s important for people her age to get involved in their community, whether it be elected office or other efforts, “because it’s our future and hopefully our family’s and children and grandchildren that are impacted by these long-term decisions.”

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