Rollins Celebrates Women’s History Month with Education and Reflection

March 02, 2022

By Elsa Wenzel

Rollins is honoring the lives of trailblazing women whose contributions have made a difference in our backyard and in communities around the world.

Author Zora Neale Hurston. First Lady Michelle Obama. Artist Frida Kahlo. These are just three of the legendary women being recognized at Rollins throughout March in celebration of Women’s History Month, which seeks to elevate unsung voices and inspire new generations of women and their allies.

From student-led events to academic coursework, explore a few of the ways Rollins is honoring the women innovators and visionaries who are paving the way for change and opportunity in everything from science and business to arts and culture. 

Two students pose with the American flag on the night of the 2016 presidential election results.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Politics on Tap

  • When: Thursday, March 24, 5 p.m.
  • Where: Dave’s Boathouse

The student-led, nonpartisan Democracy Project facilitates Politics on Tap monthly debates, encouraging exploration and diplomacy on hot-button topics of the day. The March event focuses on women in politics. Throughout the month, the group’s social media feeds will share information about prominent female elected officials, such as Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Follow the Democracy Project on Instagram to stay up to date on news and events.

A student exploring the Ally Is a Verb exhibition at the Rollins Museum of Art.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins Museum of Art

Throughout March, in addition to showcasing several exhibitions that explore the important roles of women in contemporary art, the Rollins Museum of Art will fill its Facebook and Instagram feeds with works by women artists through the Work of the Week and Lavendar Labels series.

Art Encounters: Ally is a Verb

  • When: January 15 – May 8
  • Where: Rollins Museum of Art

This art exhibition examines the concept of what it means to walk alongside people from marginalized groups. Get acquainted with the works of famed female artists such as Elsa Maria Melendez and Nina Chanel Abney. A sound booth in the gallery invites you to share and record your personal experiences.

Line, Color, Shapes, and Other Stories: Abstract Art Selections from the Permanent Collection

  • When: January 15 – April 3

This exhibit features modern works by Iranian contemporary master Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Cuban-born painter Carmen Herrera, and Florida environmentalist painter Doris Leeper, all of which explore abstraction as a central theme.

Virtual Happy Hour Tour

Join this spirited Alfond Happy Hour Tour, the first to focus on women’s history, from the comfort of home as Fred W. Hicks Curatorial Fellow Maia Bhikarrie ’22 introduces you to contemporary artworks by Cailin Keogh, Sarah VanDerBeek, Charline von Heyl, and Jennifer Bartlett.

Virtual Studio Saturdays

Museum educators offer creative projects for all ages via YouTube the first and third Saturday of each month. On March 5, learn how to piece together a stencil collage in the acclaimed style of Nina Chanel Abney. On March 19, craft “neon” signs featuring word art to emulate Tracy Emin’s famed work Everything for Love. Free museum art kits with supplies are available for pickup at the museum.

Display table highlighting Women’s History Month at Olin Library.

Olin Library

Throughout March, remarkable women will be front and center at Olin Library. Biographies and autobiographies feature an array of inspiring figures, such as Frida Kahlo and Michelle Obama. Other books of interest include More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Florida Women, African American Women Chemists, Muslim Women Are Everything, and Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure.

The library also features a Barbie display that depicts the controversy and evolution of the famous child’s toy since her debut in 1959. The collection features dolls from Mattel’s “Inspiring Women” series representing icons like Ida B. Wells, Sally Ride, Helen Keller, Ella Fitzgerald, Maya Angelou, and Rosa Parks. Braille on the back of the Helen Keller doll’s box tells her biography. After exploring the exhibit, a display table invites you to grab a marker and share your reflections about how Mattel can continue to further inclusion.

Lucy Cross Center for Women, Gender, & Sexuality

Lucy Cross Roundtable

For 12 years, the Lucy Cross Center has fostered a welcoming environment for community members to come together, develop leadership and mentorship opportunities, and advocate for women and their allies. Join this in-person roundtable to discuss issues and experiences relevant to people who identify as women.

Let’s Get Literary podcast

Let’s Get LITerary

On their podcast at the end of March, the Rollins “literarians” are featuring a new book by New York Times bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid. Daisy Jones & the Six is a coming-of-age story of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in late 1960s Los Angeles. Juan Franco, associate director of residential life and explorations, joins the chat with regular hosts Jen Atwell ’11 ’20MBA, associate director of internal communications, Sam Vega from the Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement, and Kourtnie Berry ’12, assistant women’s basketball coach.

Rollins professor and student conducting research on women’s studies.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Critical Coursework

Women’s contributions touch every field of study, which is recognized at Rollins in everything from our interdisciplinary minor in Sexuality, Women’s, and Gender Studies (SWAG) to the influence of women trailblazers in every field and discipline.

Environmental studies professor Leslie Poole, for example, specializes in the role of women in Florida’s 20th-century enviornmental movement, a regular topic of conversation in her American Environmental History course. Women’s roles are year-round topics in social entrepreneurship courses like Walter Mswaka’s Ethical Sourcing class, which examines the role of women in logistics, and sociology professor Amy McLure’s Sociology of Gender course, a study of gender in American society that include elements of post-modernism and feminist theory.

In the SWAG minor, students take an intersectional approach to recognizing social injustices and creating lasting change in the world. They’re guided by professors in sociology, art history, philosophy, and English who foster group dialog and personal introspection while learning how to apply theoretical concepts to their own experience, analyze structures of systemic privileges and oppressions, and recognize the ways that identity categories shape knowledge and experience.

Rollins students walking to class.

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