Women’s History Month coming; student ideas sought

The men’s and women’s tennis teams took a step up in competition this weekend as they traveled to Winona, Minn. to play a pair of Div. II schools. Both teams played Winona State and Minnesota State-Mankato, and both walked away with a sweep of their Minnesota opponents.

Story by Emily Gresbrink

UW-Eau Claire’s Women’s and LGBTQ Resource Center is seeking idea submissions for Women’s History Month events to take place during the month of March.

The month, according to the National Women’s History Project, has been nationally recognized since 1987, with roots tracing back to the late 1970s. Eau Claire has been involved for years as well, under the coordination of the Women’s and LGBTQ Resource Center since 2009.

News Editor Emily Gresbrink sat down with women’s issues program coordinator Abby Vercauteren to discuss what exactly the center is looking for in submissions for the campus-wide event in 2012.


Emily Gresbrink: Tell me more about the importance of this month. What is it all about? When and where will the events be occurring?

Abby Vercauteren: It’s National Women’s History Month and it’s been  going on roughly since the late 1970s. Basically it was started by the NWHM Project, and it’s just a way to honor women on the national level.

The events are campus-wide and take place throughout the end of March.


EG: This year’s theme is “Women’s education, women’s empowerment.” What is the idea behind this?

AV: Well, the different themes usually target a different struggle women have faced historically, so basically the month for this year is talking about the fight for equal education through the years.


EG: For Eau Claire, what are some of the past events that have happened?:

AV: There’s been a lot of different things, from bellydancing (a group called Peanut Butter and Gypsy for last two years) to poetry reading by female faculty
members. There have been nationally recognized musicians that have come in (Pamela Means last year) as well. Basically there are just a wide variety of things based on the theme of each year.


EG: Are there deadlines for submitting event ideas?

AV: The end of February or the first week in March. People can just email me ideas.

We have a limited budget, so we can help with promoting the event. The role of my office and myself is to gather all the events and ideas and put them on a calendar and put it out there as a unit.


EG: What kind of specific events are you looking for?

AV: I would say things like panel discussion or talks about how education has helped individuals on campus, or the perspectives of students and instructors.


EG: Can individuals participate as well? How could one get involved?

AV: Yes, definitely — they could come forward with ideas for something like a film screening. Say they had a film they’ve seen about women’s education, like “Mona Lisa Smile,” or another movie that we could buy the rights for and promote it. Or they could give a talk by themselves, too.


EG: What various groups get involved or are affected by this?

AV: Groups that have been involved in the past are organizations, such as College Feminists and V-Day, as well as academic departments and the Dean of Student’s office. So it’s really on every level — academic and administration.


EG: Overall, what are you looking for in the month of March?

AV: I’m just looking for the campus to come together to help plan events that honor the theme. I think it’s especially important because we are on a college campus of 60-some percent women, so I think it’s pretty clear that women have come a long way, regardless of the fact that there are still steps to be reached.

I’m basically looking for different programs to come together and plan events so that it can be a special month that students can recognize.