Women's Center

Drop Shadow

News From the Women's Center - February 2012

After what was an especially quiet six weeks, we at the Women's Center are very happy to see your smiling faces back at USD! Now that we have pent-up enthusiasm and energy from a relaxing Intersession, we start our new semester and our new year. We hope you take the time to visit us or participate in our various programs, discussions, and volunteer opportunities- we'd love to have you!

Women of Impact 2011

Last December, the Women's Center hosted the Women of Impact luncheon with the purpose of celebrating the impactful and wonderful women at USD. Although there were only 4 women who were awarded the title of "Woman of Impact," everyone who was nominated has made amazing contributions to the USD community and are Women of Impact in our eyes!

Staff Women of Impact Nominees
Student Women of Impact Nominees
Faculty Women of Impact Nominees


Congratulations to 2011 Women of Impact Eirene Rocha, Justine Darling, Maria Estrada, and Dr. Perla Myers and to all the nominees. Thank you for all of your hard work!

V-Day and the Vagina Monologues

By Ali Olson, Volunteer Coordinator, Women's Center Staff

For the last 14 years February has been home to an amazing display of activism called the V-Day movement.The purpose of V-Day is to end violence against women and girls worldwide.  The V in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina and seeks to educate people about the global reality of violence against women and girls.  Through benefits, films, and live performances (among many other creative ideas) people call attention to issues including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sex slavery.    

"V" stands for Victory, Valentine, and Vagina

The V-Day movement began with a play called The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler, which combines over 200 interviews Eve conducted with women.  The play focuses on women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse, inviting everyone to start a new conversation about and with women.  Eve used this forum to call people to action to end violence and it took off from there.

Each year V-Day “spotlights” a particular group of women in the world.  In 2012 the focus will be on the women and girls of Haiti and will highlight the increased rates of sexual violence since the devastating earthquake that took place in January 2010.  All proceeds will support a “revolutionary national program in Haiti lead by a coalition of women activists - including longtime V-Day activist Elvire Eugene - that is addressing sexual violence through art, advocacy, safe shelter, and legal services.”

In support of USD’s core values, the Women’s Center gathers students to discuss and attend a Vagina Monologues performance each year as part of the V-Day Movement. This event invites students to explore sexuality and the impact sexual violence has on both local and global communities by bearing witness to the experiences of women and girls throughout the world.

USD’s core value of Compassionate Service calls us to “embrace the Catholic moral and social tradition by committing to serve with compassion, to foster peace and work for justice. We regard peace as inseparable from justice and advance education, scholarship and service to fashion a more humane world.”

We in the Center believe it is through storytelling and experiencing the lived reality of others that we are truly transformed and able to move closer to who we are each called to be as change agents.

This year's event will be on Thursday, March 22nd from 6-10pm. Tickets can be purchased at the UC Ticket Office, beginning on Feb. 27th.

The EMPOWER Leadership Retreat

by Shannon Shumacher, Leadership Representative, Leadership Council

Shannon at Empower 2011, (far right)

On Friday February 24th, first year, sophomore and junior women from across campus will come together to trek up Palomar Mountain where they will spend the weekend for the Empower Women’s Leadership Retreat. This unique retreat strives to create a space in which participants are empowered to share their personal stories and reflect upon how that story affects the community they live in. Through the guidance of staff, faculty and senior undergraduate leaders, participants will engage in discussion and reflection surrounding the role gender plays in their leadership style.

Throughout the weekend, participants will explore the rooting of empowerment within leadership as well as the place of their individual stories. Through a greater understanding of self, participants will gain a greater knowledge of how to support their peers (i.e., club members, staff members, residents, incoming students). Participants will begin to foster meaningful relationships and build a network of female support with their fellow women at the University of San Diego.

Past participants often note that this was one of their most meaningful weekends while at USD. We at the Women’s Center are excited to see what participants from EMPOWER 2012 bring back!

News You Might Have Missed

During the break, the Women's Center had an influx of all sorts of news on our Facebook wall! Here's an overview of what's been going on in our world over Intersession!

Legos and LadyFigs

LadyFigs Product

After 5 years of marketing reseach, LEGO, the producer of building blocks beloved by girls and boys for year, has produced "LadyFigs" a line of Legos including Lego women with skirts and sets at the beach, mall, and kitchen, aimed at getting girls to play with Legos. This outrageous feminization of what was a gender neutral toy has us up in arms because it suggests that girls can only play with toys that are "girly," as well as boxing "girl legos" into specific gender roles. Learn more or sign the petition to end this line of toys at Change.org.

"The Bigger Picture: What happens when we 'find the line' as viewers?"

Movie critic Drew McWeeny reacts to the increase of violence, especially sexual violence towards women, depicted in the cinema. He criticizes using a rape scene as a plot device in The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, calling it "one of the cheapest, most transparent bit of plot mechanics," and going on to say that "if Larsson had really pushed himself, I have no doubt he could have accomplished the same goals without including a rape." Read McWeeny's article, found at HitFlix.com, here.

"Women Working to Do Good: Alexa Van Tobel"

Alexa Van Tobel
Alexa Van Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest

Women Working to Do Good is a feature instigated by HelloGiggles and the White House which honors the hard work of worthy female rolemodels. Alexa Van Tobel is one such woman. After dropping out of Harvard Business School, Van Tobel founded the LearnVest, a website which offers personal financial advice for women. "Leaving HBS in the middle of an economic crisis may seem like a crazy idea, but the fact that the economy was so uncertain meant that it was the perfect time," she says. Read more about Van Tobel and other WWDG at HelloGiggles.


"When everyone zigs, you zag. I would advise all young women to believe in themselves and think bigger. If there’s something missing and you can create it, go for it!" - Alexa Van Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest

In this newsletter...

Women of Impact 2011

V-Day and the Vagina Monologues

Women of Color Discussion Group

The EMPOWER Leadership Retreat

New Faces at The Women's Center this Spring

News You Might Have Missed


Your 2011 Women of Impact

Calling all Women of Color!

If you identify as a woman of color, we invite you to consider joining this semester's discussion group.

Colorful picture of women

Mondays, 12:30-2pm

includes lunch!

The group provides a fun, confidential space to connect with other women of color here at USD. It offers space for connection, growth and empowerment through open sharing of common experiences, concerns and ideas.


To join the group or to learn more, email Sylvie Marques smarques@sandiego.edu to arrange a 30 min. individual appointment.

New Faces at the Women's Center this Spring

EllaElla Guimond, Programmer


AudreyAudrey Johnson, High School Outreach Coordinator


CourtneyCourtney Boyer, Leadership Council: Safety Representative



Gabrielle Belleza, Sexual Assault Peer Educator


Not pictured:

Britt DeLine, Sexual Assault Peer Educator

Kristiana Lehn, Sexual Assault Peer Educator

Lauren Ortiz, Sexual Assault Peer Educator