The Women’s Center is gearing up for its annual performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 21 and 22 in the CUB Ballroom. Tickets are available for $7 at CUB tables this week or for $8 at the door. Coordinated by Gettysburg College students Emily Lindholm ’13, Sarah Fodero ’13, Emily Zeller ’14, and Devora Ashkenazy ’14, The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play that focuses on various aspects of the feminine experience and is held annually to raise awareness for women’s anti-violence groups in Gettysburg.
“The event is growing every year,” said Stephanie Sellers, Director of the Women’s Center and faculty member in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and English Department at Gettysburg College.
This year’s cast is so large—more than 75 people signed up to participate—that there will be two nights of performances with an altered cast on each night.
“The record number of cast members says so much about our College. The students’ peers are seeing the positive impact the performance has on the cast members and the audience and they want to be a part of that,” said Sellers (pictured at right).
Performances of The Vagina Monologues have been held around Valentine’s Day at Gettysburg College since 2003. This year’s proceeds will benefit Survivors, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Gettysburg that provides victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Adams County with supportive services including a 24-hour hotline, women’s shelter, and counseling. Participants in this year’s cast include Gettysburg College students and administrators, as well as staff members from Survivors, Inc.
A Network of Support
The Women’s Center has been a part of Gettysburg College for 22 years, but has only functioned under a faculty director since 2009, when Prof. Sellers stepped into the position.
“I oversee the day-to-day operations of the Women’s Center,” Sellers said. “I train staff to lead discussion groups, coordinate events, take in sexual assault information, and make referrals for students to either Gettysburg College’s counseling services, Survivors, Inc., or the Department of Public Safety.”
The Women’s Center relies on heavy student participation to coordinate programs and events that foster the organization’s mission: to support the fullest expression of women’s potential in their interpersonal, professional, and leadership experiences for a lifetime. Students serve as program coordinators, office assistants, and volunteers, allowing the Women’s Center to remain open every day of the week. The center also offers extended hours from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday in connection with the Late Night Gettysburg initiative.
Lulu Morin ’14, one of the Women’s Center’s program coordinators, runs the Healthy Relationship Discussion Group which meets twice a month.
“We discuss the roles of each partner in a relationship and teach women effective ways to say ‘no,’” Morin said. “We usually get eight or more people, the perfect size for that kind of conversation, and there’s always tea, hot chocolate, cookies, and big sofas. It’s really relaxing.”
The discussion group raises awareness about issues of control and abuse, as well as teaches students dating relationship skills.
Other events sponsored by the Women’s Center include lunchtime lectures with guest speakers, craft nights, game nights, and special events each semester, including a "Life & Fire Safety Day" (pictured above) and a celebration of International Women’s Day in March. Full list of upcoming events.
This semester, the Women’s Center is introducing two new clubs on campus: the Women’s Center Club will meet every other Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss current issues affecting women, and Students for Reproductive Justice, led by first-year students Casey Butrico and Melanie Emerson, will meet on Fridays at 7 p.m. for conversation surrounding women’s reproductive rights.
“We do so much more than help women get through difficult situations,” Sellers said. “In everything we do, we strive to bring women from margin to center.”
Preparing Women to Lead
While the Women’s Center has a full slate of programming set for the spring semester, the organization is also thinking ahead to next year. In partnership with the Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC), the Women’s Center will offer a Women’s Leadership Program beginning in September 2013. The certificate program, open to women and trans-women of all class years, will take 1-2 years to complete and will appear on the transcripts of participating students.
“The program looks at different leadership styles, helps students develop a knowledge base about women’s leadership, and teaches ways to apply leadership skills and become active citizens in a national and global way,” Sellers said.
The Women’s Leadership Program will consist of topic-specific workshops, a women’s leadership conference, and participation in a service-oriented internship within the community. Students will be able to match internships with their academic and social interests, while working directly with women in leadership roles. A kickoff event will be held April 20 and the first group of participants will begin the program in September 2013. A January enrollment period will also be offered.
In partnering with the GLC, the Women’s Leadership Program will bring in student leaders from both organizations. Devora Ashkenazy, an office assistant at the Women’s Center, and Sarah Fodero, a leadership mentor at the GLC, will act as the program’s inaugural student leaders.
“We think we’ll have a strong initial showing since women’s leadership is still evolving,” Sellers said. “We’re seeing more and more leadership programs in the United States and want Gettysburg College to connect itself to that strong movement.”
The Women’s Center is located in Room 201 of the Ice House Complex at 30 N. Washington Street and is open from 4 to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Article by: Liz Williams '13, communications & marketing intern
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521
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