The Fall semester is zooming by and the SD weather might have been wacky, but we at the Women's Center have gone full speed ahead! Check out what we've been up to in October and see what coming up this month!
Love Your Body Day
|Students were invited to decorate jeans with positive messages in front of the UC during Love Your Body Day.|
Everyday, women are presented with narrow, unrealistic ideas of what beauty is and are told that they have worth based on thier physical attractiveness. However, we at the WC believe people are beautiful just the way they are!
Not only was the WC spreading this message across USD, but we were engaging in dialogue with other organizations. The Association of Chicana Activists (AChA), is an org focusing on issues facing Chicanas and Latinas. Their monthly event, Entre Mujeres brings members together to discuss a certain topic. In conjuction with Love Your Body Day, AChA held a discussion about body image with representatives from the Women's Center.
|Members of AChA at thier monthly Entre Mujeres discussion|
Maria Ruvalcaba, one of the coordinators for Entre Mujeres reiterates that body image and health go hand in hand. "We feel that by educating (our fellow Chicanas) about things such as nutrition, health risks, and the importance of feeling great in their genes and adoring who they are and what they look like is a form of empowerment to them. They can share it with their families and community and improve the lifestyles, self confidence, and feeling of beauty within the Hispanic women in our community little by little."
First Year Women Outreach
by Miranda Stratton, Leadership Council Community Representative
After lots of planning and outreach, the First Year Women Rock Program is in full swing! We had an awesome group of first year women attend our Kick-Off Event on October 7th. At the kick-off, volunteers and first years connected with one another over dinner. They also shared about themselves through a wonderful community building activity.
As the semester continues the First Year Women Rock program will host discussion groups and social events both on and off-campus. All first year women are invited to attend the remaining events for First Year Women Rock, all of which can be found on this First Year Women Rock webpage. Check out this month's events in this newsletter!
Alexandra Medrano, HSO Coordinator
by Alexandra Medrano
The HSO Program is one way students can get involved in our local community. It is a great opportunity to be able to impact young women’s life for the better. This program is dear to my heart and has greatly impacted my USD experience.
Volunteers get to know the girls and see them grow over the course of the year. The highlight of last semester was inviting them to “Take Back the Night”. During an interactive skit, audience members were asked to participate in reconstructing a scene to empower the main character. While the large crowd of USD students, faculty, and staff stood quietly, one of the girls marched up there and changed the scene. It has been a joy to work with them. These young women are inspiring, spirited, and driven.
What began last year as a monthly volunteer opportunity, has expanded this year to twice a week. We have connected with "Hermanas" from High Tech High Media Arts. The volunteer work at the high school is a combination of mentorship and academic tutoring. Volunteers help plan and lead the monthly workshops, centered on a variety of topics such as relationships, body image, and most recently sisterhood.
If you would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexual Assault Protocol Update
In April, the Department of Education published a “Dear Colleague” letter detailing obligations universities hold in responding to sexual harassment, including sexual violence. The letter provides concrete ways to improve the experiences of survivors who choose to report and/or go through the student conduct process, while also challenging universities to do more to if they know or should reasonably know of an incident to “promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.”
The Women’s Center is playing an active role in reviewing and updating protocol and procedures for reporting and responding to sexual assault as USD determines how to create and offer students protocol and procedures that are survivor-driven while also meeting the obligations put forth by the Department of Education. For us, a survivor-driven approach works to put the victim or survivor in control of the process, beginning with being able to decide with whom and how they want to share their experience. We believe that such a process will result in increased reporting and a safer campus community.
Mackenzie Maurer is the Sexual Assault Awareness Coordinator in the Center. "I have been able to speak from a student’s perspective and share the frustrations I have with the current process in place and how it can become more survivor-driven. One suggestion is the expansion of the current First Responder program to become more advocate based."
Our next step is "A night of sharing and community" scheduled for November 3rd at 7:30pm. Three women have graciously and courageously shared their experience with the reporting process and we are inviting folks into the Women’s Center to hear these stories read aloud. It is our hope that in hearing what the process is actually like for students, the importance of a survivor-driven approach will be made clearer.
Mackenzie shares, "The love and support that the Women’s Center offered my friends who are survivors is one of the big reasons I am working as the Sexual Assault Awareness Coordinator. I truly believe that the more people who share that this is an issue that matters to us, the greater an impact it will have. If you are free on November 3rd, we would love to have your support and presence."
EMPOWER Women's Leadership Retreat
The 2012 EMPOWER Women’s Leadership Retreat will be held Friday, February 24– Sunday, February 26! This weekend experience presents female first year, sophomore and junior student leaders with an opportunity to grow through a deeper understanding of self, their personal story and how that story impacts the community around them. This unique retreat strives to foster an environment where participants feel empowered to explore their personal and shared stories as women at the USD. Through identity exploration, participants will examine the role gender plays in their leadership approach. Participant applications will be available mid-November on our website.
Call for Senior Women
Senior women are invited to apply to be one of four senior student facilitators for the EMPOWER 2012. Senior facilitators will partner with a faculty or staff facilitator to guide a small group of first year-junior women through the weekend. Detailed information can be found on the Empower Leadership Retreat page for more information and the Senior Facilitator Application. Applications are due on Thursday, November 10thin the Women’s Center (SLP 420) by 5:00pm.
Email Stacey Williams,email@example.com, with questions.
"I am not a victim. I am a voice."
In this newsletter...
October in Review
- Love Your Body Day
- First Year Women's Outreach
- High School Outreach
2011 Women of Impact
Update on Sexual Assualt Protocol
2012 EMPOWER Women's Leadership Retreat
2011 Women of Impact
Annually, the Women’s Center recognizes outstanding women in our campus community. Nominate female students, faculty and staff who have had a profound impact on the USD community!
Pamela Gray Payton
Rosibel Mancillas Lopez
Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, PhD
Jean Ramirez, JD
First Year Women Rock!
FYWR Volunteers Ali Olson, Janice Johnson, and Sara Campion waiting to greet the first years at the kick-off event!
First Year Women, Ali West, Audrey Miciano, and Celena Olivar, sharing thier puzzle pieces with the group.
A Forum on the Status of Women at USD
55:45 is the ratio between women and men at USD.
On Wednesday, November 9, USD women will hear presentations by faculty, staff, and students on issues disproportionately affecting women, as well as be provided with a space to share thier own experiences as women at USD.
We will also be discussing ways to contribute to creating positive change on our campus and generating a summary report, which will be made available to the USD community.
Make sure you are represented! Talk to your organization or department chair to see who is representing you!
Read up on the findings of last year's forum, "University of Spoiled Daughters... Really?" by visiting the Forum page here.