March 29, 2011
Photo by Laura J. Cole
As one of the organizer's of this year's V-Week, Liza Saffo '11 hopes the events will help educate the campus about issues facing women.
Every year, students are often confused and intrigued by posters hanging around the Rollins campus that advertise The Vagina Monologues. The first thoughts that come to mind upon seeing these posters aren’t usually feminism and women’s rights, but that’s exactly the connection that Liza Saffo '11 hopes to make this year through her work with V-Week.
“Feminism is not a widely acknowledged or understood term on this campus,” said Saffo. “Most students don’t know what V-Week is all about, and they don’t fully understand the local and global issues surrounding women and their rights in today’s society. This year, we hope to break down barriers and truly educate the community.”
V-Week, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), is an annual event on campus aimed at bringing awareness and celebrating women in correlation with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. While the most notable events are the performances of The Vagina Monologues (an improvisational comedy show about feminism) and the Take Back the Night march, the week features several exciting and educational events.
This year’s activities included a very special addition, lectures from two authors and activists, Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner. Saffo is partly responsible for bringing the speakers to campus this year, after she became inspired while attending the Feminist Summer Camp through the company Soapbox, Inc. The camp, which Saffo refers to as a sort of “feminist boot camp,” was a revolutionary landmark in her education and inspired her to bring the kind of enthusiasm for feminism that she witnessed there to the Rollins campus.
“The biggest lesson I learned is that there really are people out there, just like me, who care about the issues that really matter in this world,” said Saffo. “I knew that I wanted to bring Amy and Jennifer to Rollins as guest speakers. They are so educated, well-rounded, and great at speaking about feminism and activism, and I really wanted Rollins to have a chance to hear their messages.”
Thanks to her collaboration with the women's studies program, the Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies and OMA, as well as a generous donation from FoxFunds, Saffo was able to fulfill her wish and bring the speakers to campus for V-Week.
Mary Robinson '10 was especially enthusiastic for this year’s V-Week events, mostly because of a hope for increased student participation. Robinson, who serves as a liaison between the student organization Voices for Women and the Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies, believes that students participating in this year’s events will leave with a greater understanding of the issues facing women, and is hopeful that it will inspire more people to become involved in women’s rights activities in the future.
“It's important that young women and men be informed about current women's and gender issues,” said Robinson. “Students may also find a spark for something that they are passionate about and help to bring about change that they might not have before their consciousness was raised.”
An excellent display of global citizenship and responsible leadership, V-Week provides students with the knowledge and tools to become a part of the solution to many women’s rights issues—not only locally, but nationally and globally as well.
“Even if awareness becomes the only outcome, it still plants seeds of change that will impact the future,” said Robinson. “Recognition and awareness of social injustices that exist are the first steps in the journey to fixing them.”
For more information, visit www.rollins.edu/multiculturalaffairs.
By Sarah Hartman '11
Office of Marketing & Communications
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