Women’s Studies Celebrates International Women’s Day

Posted: March 14, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Heather Aleknavage

The Women’s Studies Research and Resource Center welcomed nearly 100 people to an open house and reception on March 8 in honor of International Women’s Day. The event featured a student produced exhibition documenting the history of women’s studies at Mason, “Continuing Herstory: Reclaiming the Past, Defining the Present and Shaping the Future.”

Cheryl Bartholomew, retired associate professor of women’s studies, came up with the concept. Suzanne Scott, assistant professor in New Century College and Women’s Studies, arranged for students to earn credits while working on the project. The outcome was a five-minute DVD of the past, present and future of women’s studies at the university.

“Every time Cheryl would teach about women’s stories being lost, she thought of the Women’s Studies Program, and what a shame it would be if all of that information was lost. I’m very proud of these students for what they were able to accomplish in a very short time,” Scott says.

Student Mary Oakes, who is creating a Bachelor of Individualized Study major in women’s studies, is one of nine students who worked on the DVD.

“I have a much deeper appreciation for the contribution that women’s studies makes to all academic disciplines,” she says. “It was only in doing the research that it became apparent that unless administrators, faculty and students are vigilant, women’s studies runs the risk of landing on some kind of academic endangered species list.”

The students participated in two panel discussions, explaining their journey through a collection of information, memory books, brochures and fliers. President Alan Merten attended the celebration and remarked, “It’s critical that we understand the issues of women and the role of women in the world.”

Nancy Hanrahan, director of the Women’s Studies Research and Resource Center, explained that the group has created a framework and started what will be a continuing project where students work on additional research, archiving old materials.

“It’s important to know where we’ve been to know where we’re going. This project is a platform from which to grow,” she said.

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