Celebrating Women’s History Month

Women’s Weekend opens dialogue on campus.

Last weekend, the Women’s Wellness Interest Community and Wilgus Hall Involvement Team hosted Women’s Weekend. This past weekend was a kick off for Women’s History Month. Both men and women were encouraged to attend the events. The various events included Paint and Punch, brunch with a keynote speaker and a sexual health relay race. Women’s Weekend opened a dialogue on campus, allowing students to talk about and interact with topics rarely discussed on campus.

“The weekend represents a day for [our] community to learn how great women are. It is good to see people get involved [in the event], especially the men,” Wilgus Hall resident assistant and elementary education major Annamarie Bousley said.

The weekend started on Friday with Paint and Punch. Many students came to the event and left with a new piece of artwork to hang up. Paint and Punch gave students an opportunity to paint a canvas, drink sparkling punch and socialize with others.

“It was such a pleasant evening, very chill and a nice stress reliever,” senior English literature major Lydia Sigwarth said.

Saturday, following the Paint and Punch event, students were invited to Wilgus Hall for speakers, games, letter writing and more. The day began with brunch and a keynote speaker. Some of the staff in Wilgus Hall cooked a brunch consisting of pancakes, bacon, eggs and fruit.  Students were welcome to eat while listening to the keynote presenter, assistant professor of political science Shan Sappleton. Sappleton shared advice on how to understand your worth and how to empower both yourself and others.

“You must return. Pay your dues… put a face on what success looks like… Know your worth and the worth of those around you,” Sappleton said.

Sappleton said much of what she has learned about equal treatment she learned from her granddad. She said her granddad would have probably considered himself a feminist because he was always for equal treatment of boys and girls. She talked about how after the death of his wife, her granddad raised two kids, one boy and one girl, by himself, something that was not heard of in rural Jamaica. Because of this, she said that he made sure his children were both treated equally in everything from education to sports.

One thing Sappleton’s granddad taught her was to allow your talents to direct you to what it is that you want to do. That was one of the messages she wanted listeners to leave with. Sappleton closed her talk with a challenge to the audience.

“[I challenge you to] look around and see how things are emerging. Look for, and be, the people like my granddad. Here is the opportunity to use education as the great equalizer,” Sappleton said.

Sappleton said it was awesome to be able to have a women’s weekend on campus, and it was good to see both men and women in attendance. She commented that it was an opportunity to talk about the social construction.

“It is an honor [to speak at Women’s Weekend]. [It was] good to speak to both men and women,” Sappleton said.

There was a short break between the keynote speaker and the next three presenters. The following presentations were on gender topics, sexual health  and mindfulness. Gender topics was presented by Pip Gordon, associate professor of English; sexual health was presented by Melissa Stoner, the resident director of Wilgus Hall; and mindfulness was presented by Jason Artz, a university counselor. These presentations were interactive and covered many topics, from drawing one’s interpretation of a woman to a sexual health relay race.

“[I am most excited] for the mindfulness to learn to relax,” biology major Haylee Kuehl-Weisser said.

While the presentations were running, there were also opportunities for students to write letters to a woman who has inspired them, interact with history in a situation room and play trivia focused on women in science, sports and politics.

The weekend wrapped up with games, movies and other activities. Women’s Weekend allowed for dialogue on topics of gender, equality and health, both physical and mental.