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Posts Tagged ‘SAC’

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Bangalore, India, through the Vira I. Heinz Program. While I was enamored by the colorful architecture, food, and clothing there, I was exposed to some of the less colorful aspects of India in my sociology course. The large scale and impact that human trafficking has on India was difficult to comprehend and, frankly, disheartening. Traffickers target children begging for money on the streets, women in brothels, and poor manual laborers. When thinking of human trafficking, most people imagine red-light districts in other parts of the world, but human trafficking is closer to home than most may realize.

Photo taken in India by Huong Nguyen

A modern-day form of slavery, human trafficking occurs not only abroad but within the U.S. border — manipulating and exploiting people for profit. U.S. federal law defines victims of human trafficking as “children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of ‘labor or services,’ such as domestic workers held in a home or farm workers forced to labor against their will.” Sadly, human trafficking occurs in all 50 states; however, the exact number of victims is largely unknown or inaccurate due to various factors, including underreporting.

Victims of human trafficking can be children, adults, men, women, U.S. citizens, and foreign nationals. There is not a consistent profile for victims, nor is there a single profile for the  traffickers, who can range from family members to brothel owners to employers of domestic servants.

There are an estimated 27 million people in modern-day slavery across the world. The Polaris Project provides red flags, as well as a hotline for confidential help and information. Regardless of your background or how wealthy your country is, human trafficking occurs everywhere. Human trafficking preys on peoples’ vulnerabilities for profit. Let’s recognize the signs and speak out about this crime against humanity.

Friday, January 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a day dedicated to shedding light on human trafficking and empowering individuals to fight against this crime. Join me tomorrow and every day after to say no to human trafficking.

Here are a few ways you can raise awareness:

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Huong Nguyen.

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Today we release the fourth and final video in our giving season series. Each story featured a woman touched by AAUW — our mission, our programs, and our members. I had the distinct honor of interviewing the three women who shared their stories; it was one of the best projects I’ve worked on here because it was all about these women’s lives and how AAUW touches them.

In our first video, AAUW Senior Researcher Christi Corbett shared what inspires her to work for AAUW: Her mother, a woman who gets every question right on Jeopardy, never had the support she needed to achieve her full potential. Thanks to Christi’s research, we have a better understanding of what today’s moms need to be empowered, whether it’s fair pay or renewed efforts to combat stereotypes.

Our second video features AAUW member Kathy Kelm, who is also the president of the AAUW Action Fund’s Lobby Corps. After working tirelessly on Capitol Hill to stop cuts to Pell Grants and other college affordability programs, Kathy learned that a woman co-worker was leaving her job to go back to school — thanks to a Pell Grant. Moments like these remind Kathy, and indeed the entire AAUW community, that our advocacy matters to the people in our lives.

I interviewed Maureen Evans Arthurs for our third video. Full disclosure: Maureen and I are old friends.

Each time we meet, she tells me of her latest adventures, each one always more impressive than the last. Here is a mother, a wife, and a first-generation college student who is pursuing her dreams at full speed. And of course, she’s just one of the inspiring members of AAUW’s 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council. Many young women get on the fast track thanks to AAUW’s leadership programs, and Maureen is living proof of that.

The giving season series comes full circle with the last video, which features Christi once more. We made this video our final story because it’s about the people who are most important to AAUW — our members. Every day, we are amazed and inspired by the women and men who keep this work going. We cannot thank you enough, but we’re going to try with this final giving season message.

 

Many thanks for all you do.

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From the time I was a little girl, my parents instilled in me the value and importance of an education. I always knew that I was meant to go to high school and college. Now that I am in college, I have noticed that many of the younger girls I know are not motivated to do the same. And I asked myself, Why, and what can we do?

Part of my question was answered in November, when I had the privilege of volunteering at the Adelante/Moving Forward with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) conference, which was co-hosted by the AAUW Elgin Area (IL) Branch, League of United Latin American Citizens, Elgin Community College, and Judson University. The conference was intended to support Latina girls in middle and high school while encouraging them to pursue STEM fields as possible future career choices. Many of the activities emphasized STEM and the bond in Latino families. The girls attended with their moms, many of whom did not go to college themselves, and the conference also emphasized helping the mothers understand the importance of the college experience and the impact it can have on their daughters.

Volunteers from Elgin Community CollegeOne of the most touching moments of the conference was the book discussion about The House on Mango Street. Lizette Beltran, a Bartlett High School alumna, talked about the importance of having her mom’s support in school and in overcoming obstacles. This prompted many of the moms to ask how they can help their own daughters and what the volunteers’ own moms have done to help us succeed. To me, this was the most fascinating aspect of the conference!

I have a strong bond with my mom, and her support of my education has been very important. From my own experience, I think that encouraging girls at a younger age, especially ethnic minority students, to go to college is crucial to establishing their motivation to continue their education. Minority college students are more at-risk for obstacles in their educational pursuits and often lack knowledge of college options. But having another woman give you her undivided support can go a long way, especially if that woman is your mom.

By encouraging mothers to learn about their daughters’ educational interests, conferences like these offer mothers a better understanding of what college will entail. This is a win-win situation because girls’ enrollment will likely increase and the mother-daughter bond will be strengthened — just like mine was with my mom.

Although this conference was geared toward STEM pursuits, its format could be used in any field of study by including moms and changing the activities to fit the desired specialty. Not only will the conference expose girls to a field of study that interests them, but it will also drive students to work hard in high school and earn better grades, allowing them to enroll at a higher education institution. Similarly, if a girl feels like she is making the wrong choices, an opportunity like this could still come early enough for her to change her habits and do better in school. Although this was the first time that I encountered this type of conference, I have no doubt that it can make a great impact on young girls. From what I have seen, a little support and the proper guidance can truly impact girls’ lives.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Nanci Alanis.

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The end of a year is always a good time to reflect on the accomplishments and joys of the last 12 months and to look ahead to the new year. I spoke recently with members of the newly installed executive board of the AAUW student organization at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, about their highlights from 2012 and their goals for the new term. The UM-Dearborn organization got its legs in early 2012 after four students attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in May 2011. I was lucky enough to hear from Tina Nelson, president of AAUW UM-Dearborn, and Benita Robinson, membership coordinator of AAUW UM-Dearborn and 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council member, about their 2012 reflections and 2013 goals.

UM-Dearborn students at NCCWSL

Highlights from 2012

  • Starting the AAUW student organization at UM-Dearborn — an idea sparked by NCCWSL 2011
  • Attending NCCWSL 2012 with 34 UM-Dearborn students and 27 students from 13 other Michigan colleges and universities
  • Presenting the Five Easy Steps to Starting an Organization on Campus workshop at NCCWSL 2012
  • Teaching members of the college community about issues of inequality and ways we can work to combat inequality and discrimination
  • Networking with other women and hearing stories of their successes and obstaclesAAUW UM-Dearborn members painted the University rock with AAUW’s logo
  • Painting the university rock during election week with AAUW’s logo and a reminder to vote — a night that made us feel radical and bold

Goals for 2013

  • Engage and excite our members about our organization
  • Return to NCCWSL in May with other members
  • Sustain and further develop the relationships that we have with the AAUW Dearborn (MI) Branch and AAUW of Michigan

I can tell that the AAUW student organization at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, is going to do great things in 2013.

If you are inspired to start an AAUW student organization on your college or university campus, send us an e-mail at coll-univ@aauw.org with “student organization” in the subject line. You can also check out our Program in a Box for more information on forming an AAUW student org.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Intern Courtney Douglas.

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Mentors can help shape and guide the experiences of their mentees, and this relationship can have a lifelong impact. As the first person in my household to go to college, I know that mentors played a critical part in my leadership development and my decision to pursue graduate school. Mentors like my colleague Kandy Mink Salas, who wrote her dissertation on college women and their leadership aspirations, and Tony Ragazzo, my student leadership advisor who told me that I should go to graduate school, both played a key role in my undergraduate success.

mentorship blog christine with menteesWhen I was a campus administrator, I tried to pay it forward in my work with students. Many of them had the capacity to lead, and it has been a privilege to serve as a mentor. Now in my job at AAUW, I still get to do this great work through the many AAUW leadership programs that help empower college women across the country. Programs like the National Student Advisory Council and Elect Her–Campus Women Win and events like the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders help women find their voices and take on greater leadership roles in their communities.

This month, I presented on women and leadership at the Leadership Educators Institute in Columbus, Ohio. One of my key points focused on the serious need for mentors in the lives of college women. I asked participants in my workshop and colleagues on Twitter what words of wisdom they, as mentors to college women leaders, would share. These were some of the responses.

  • mentorship blog notecard“I would encourage critical thinking and validate their ideas. I would seek out resources to share with them and connect them to different people. Also, I would say, The answer is always no if you don’t ask.”
  • “Let her know what options are available to her and why it’s important to try, and/or why [certain options] are a good fit.”
  • “Trust yourself; explore your identity as a woman and what that means to you.”
  • “The harder you work now, the ‘luckier’ you’ll get in the future.”
  • “Never be ashamed to talk about your intelligence. Women aren’t always taught they can be smart and emphasize it.”
  • “Learn to brag! … Then learn when it is appropriate.”
  • “Believing in yourself is part of your growth as a leader and as a woman. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I will always be here to guide you.”

What words of wisdom would you share with a college woman?

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Manager Christine Hernandez.

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After a class field trip to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last week to see the Nutcracker, my 6-year-old son was so excited to tell me all about it. Except what he ended up telling me had nothing to do with the ballet and everything to do with what he noticed before and after the show. He had counted not one but six homeless individuals and asked me what seemed like a hundred questions — the most important was, What could we do to help them?

Sally Ayers, a homeless resident in my community, who has told me about the rise in homelessness in Howard County, Maryland

In our simple conversation, my son reminded me what the holidays should be about: giving. This is perhaps the best time of year to catch up with friends, spend quality time with family, and invest ourselves in our communities. However, this is also the time of year when Americans spend hours in ridiculously long lines at the mall and camped outside of retail stores fighting for deals, further intensifying the holiday themes of consumption and materialism. Usually left with the feeling of exhaustion versus respite, many experience the need for a holiday do-over. While shopping shouldn’t be regarded as the enemy (after all, it does help boost the economy), it does serve as a distraction from what is really important at this time of year.

Below is just a short list of holiday ideas that can be done in a group or individually but still have an impact. Show that you care about the well-being of others in your community by giving the gift of time — it will cost you little or no money at all.

  • Volunteer for a shift at your local soup kitchen.
  • Check with your local shelter to see if it will take donated blankets, coats, or food.
  • Lead story time at your local library or on the children’s floor at your local hospital.
  • Make or buy a homeless person a meal.
  • Got talent? Sing, dance, play an instrument, make art, or read poetry at a local senior center.
  • Make a meal for the volunteers at your local animal shelter.

Although my son is too young to serve at the local soup kitchen, our family plans to make lasagna trays and cookies at home for a kitchen in our community, in addition to cleaning and preparing meals at a group home that cares for sick children. My son is eager to serve and helped our family remember that the holidays are about what you give, not what you get.

Let’s redefine the holidays by buying less stuff, giving more time, and creating change in our communities.

Photos by Maureen Evans Arthurs

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Maureen Evans Arthurs, who was sponsored by Eileen Menton.

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Inspired. That’s how I felt when I saw the large number of outstanding applications for the 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council. There are so many women leaders making a difference on college and university campuses across the country.

The 10 outstanding women selected for this year’s council come from a variety of backgrounds and have held a range of leadership positions on their campuses and beyond. Throughout the year, they will grow as AAUW ambassadors on their campuses and in their communities. They will also play an essential role in the planning and implementation of the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

2011-12 National Student Advisory Council members with the 2012 Women of Distinction

Meet the members of this year’s SAC:

  • Nanci Alanis is a junior majoring in psychology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Alanis transferred from Elgin Community College, where she was involved with student government and was an officer for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
  • Maureen Evans Arthurs is a senior majoring in gender and women’s studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the project manager for her university’s Women Involved in Learning and Leadership program and was an AAUW Development intern from 2010 to 2011.
  • Maybellin Burgos is a junior majoring in computer science at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is president of both the Association of Computing Machinery-Women and Students and Technology in Academia, Research, and Service on her campus.
  • Kelly Kay Clark is a graduate student studying higher education administration at the University of Kansas. She is the assistant complex director of an all-women residence hall on campus and was Collegiate Panhellenic Council president when she was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M.
  • Bethany Imondi is a senior majoring in government and English at Georgetown University. She is president of the Georgetown Women in Politics student organization and is an intern at Emily’s List.
  • Natasha Mercado is a sophomore majoring in radiology technology at Bellevue College, where she designed a student club to support women entering the science and health care fields. She also volunteers at a local hospital.
  • Huong Nguyen is a junior majoring in psychology at Washington and Jefferson College. She is president and a founding member of the Diversity Programming Board and is a resident assistant in a first-year hall. She has held leadership positions in the Black Student Union and in student government.
  • Taaj Reaves is a senior majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Missouri. She is president of the AAUW student organization at the University of Missouri. Reaves also serves as a leadership adviser and study abroad student manager on campus.
  • Benita Robinson is a junior majoring in computer science and sociology at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. She is a founder of the AAUW student organization on her campus and is the student coordinator for the Women in Learning and Leadership program.
  • Samaura Stone is a graduate student studying social work at Portland State University. She has experience with political campaigns and has worked for a senator. She is the vice chair of the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs and has been a Multnomah County child advocate for several years.

As in past years, SAC members will write guest blog posts each week, so you will have a chance to read about their student leadership experiences and ideas. This year, all 10 SAC members are enrolled at AAUW college/university partner member schools.

Read more about the Student Advisory Council and our new members. If you want to get connected with one of these students in your state, please contact us.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Manager Christine Hernandez.

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Do you work at or attend a college or university? Are you looking for leadership or funding opportunities? Yes? You are in luck! Applications are now available for three of our great leadership programs. Take action soon — the deadlines are coming up!

Elect Her–Campus Women Win

Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains young women to run for student government on their campuses. Any student, AAUW member, or campus faculty or staff member can apply on behalf of a campus to host the program during the 2013 spring semester.

In 2012, Elect Her was held at 28 sites for more than 600 participants, 99 percent of whom would recommend the training to a friend.

“I was able to meet some incredible women who had been in my position before and create connections with them to help me succeed.”—Boise State University participant

Visit the Elect Her web page to access the application and for more information about the program. Applications are due September 30, and selections will be announced by October 7. AAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process..

National Student Advisory Council

College students nationwide can apply to serve on the AAUW National Student Advisory Council for the 2012–13 academic year. The 10 selected SAC members will travel to Washington, D.C., in early November for a retreat and then again in June for the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. They will have the unique opportunity to advise a national women’s group, hone their leadership skills, and network with student leaders and distinguished women.

“AAUW gave me a golden year of opportunity that I will forever appreciate. … One of the best parts is that even though my term on the SAC is over, my connection and time with AAUW truly has just begun.” — Laura Corrigan, 2011–12 SAC member, St. Mary’s College

Visit the SAC page to access the application, instructions, and information about qualifications. Applications are due September 30, and the new SAC will be announced by October 7. Students at AAUW college/university partner member institutions receive preference.

AAUW Campus Action Projects

This year’s CAP grant program focuses on the issues raised in AAUW’s upcoming research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Men and Women One Year after College Graduation. The report explores the reasons behind the pay gap between women and men college graduates who are working full time one year after graduation as well as the relationship between the pay gap and student debt repayment.

Campus Action Project teams will have the opportunity to address these issues on their campuses and in their communities during the spring semester with projects like educational workshops, awareness campaigns, art or video contests, and other creative ideas. Teams will share their experiences at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June 2013.

Applications must be submitted by October 19, 2012, andAAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process. Applicants will be contacted byNovember 9, and teams will be announced at the official report release event on November 15.

I hope you will apply for and spread the word about these amazing opportunities. Also, be sure to check out some of the other campus-based programs AAUW offers.

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Members of academic departments tend to stick together like peanut butter and jelly, forks and knives, or in my case, grants and early coffee trips. Students within the same major or minor usually connect during academic events, from poetry readings to trips to the forest to study the local fauna. At the start of my fall semester in 2011, there was only one other student in St. Mary’s College’s women’s studies program who had self-designed a major, which made my academic community quite sparse. Through the support of my women’s studies sidekick, Catherine Cleary, I was fortunate enough to learn about AAUW and hear firsthand about her wonderful experience on the National Student Advisory Council the previous year. Just a few weeks after submitting my application, I was thrilled to be selected as a member of the 2011–12 SAC.

Within the next month, amid my courses and the quickly approaching Thanksgiving break, I flew to Washington, D.C., to meet the nine other SAC members at our orientation. This weekend excursion created such excitement for a subject I already had great passion for. After the events on our packed itinerary — including my favorite stop, the Sewall-Belmont House — I returned to South Bend, Indiana, with even greater excitement for the upcoming year. Through weekly conference calls, writing blog posts for AAUW, and preparing for and participating in the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, I got to know the other SAC members and the women at AAUW who helped us and kept us informed about opportunities throughout the year.

During my term on the SAC, I was given a plethora of opportunities, ideas, and programs to apply to my own campus and community. Teamed up with my academic sidekick, I successfully completed a Campus Action Project, which was based on AAUW´s research report Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, to draft a letter to the South Bend mayor asking for a declaration of Equal Pay Day and to hold a $tart $mart program on our campus. AAUW gave me a golden year of opportunity that I will forever appreciate. In addition to meeting amazing women like fair pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter and cartoonist Liza Donnelly and presenting our Campus Action Project at NCCWSL, I expanded my interests and strengthened my network of supportive women. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to apply for the SAC — it was the most exciting and enjoyable year I have ever had. One of the best parts is that even though my term on the SAC is over, my connection and time with AAUW truly has just begun.

Applications for the 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council will be available on August 27 and are due September 30. Visit the SAC page to access the application, instructions, and information about qualifications. Students at AAUW college/university partner member institutions receive preference.

This post was written by former National Student Advisory Council member Laura Corrigan.

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I am an African American. I am a woman. I am disabled.

I stand as a triple minority, and each of these identities has afforded me a variety of unique life experiences. As I enter a room in my wheelchair, I am faced with the inevitable stares of pity and discernment. The world seems to view my wheelchair as a hindrance, but I see my disability as a blessing that has provided me a platform for social change.

When I was younger, I was a leader in transforming the legal treatment of people living with disabilities. I observed that disabled students were dropping out of high school at an alarming rate. The underlying reason behind this startling pattern was the pervasive notion that students with disabilities are incapable of being educated.

Though many of you may not notice us, young people with disabilities are on the cusp of a social revolution for equality. I am inspired by those who are working to effectively eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities. In order to ensure that the rights of disabled people are recognized, we must tackle the issue of ableism — the institutionalized oppression of persons with disabilities. Ableism creates a system of privilege for those without physical or mental limitations.

University of Maryland women’s studies doctoral candidate Angel Miles is leading a second disability rights movement to fight ableism and other injustices. Miles says, “My liberation is dependent on the eradication of injustice associated with all of these identities, not just one of them.”

The daily challenges that Miles and I face range from being unable to utilize basic methods of public transportation, reaching a public event to find steps we cannot climb, or working to receive accommodations in employment and educational environments.

In spite of these challenges, we continue to press on in our fight to ensure that inequality is eradicated. When I interned at the White House, I grew to admire Director of Priority Placement Rebecca Cokley. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she worked on President Barack Obama’s committee on disability policy.

The Obama administration has given Cokley the opportunity to advance equal employment for disabled Americans. According to Cokley, “Equal employment means to me going beyond a functional shift and resulting in a philosophical shift in the expectations of young people with disabilities so that in elementary school, when students present what they want to be when they grow up, no one will say that a kid with a disability cannot be an astrophysicist, a lawyer, a chef, or whatever they may want to be.”

Cokley is as a personal inspiration because she demonstrates that despite the subordinate place society has given me, I can rise above these stereotypical expectations. When the world expects people with disabilities to fail, we triumph instead. I will embody this triumphant spirit by igniting change within my community so that the next generation has the strength to overcome all barriers.

I am disabled. I am an advocate. I am the new revolution.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Ola Ojewumi.

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