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Posts Tagged ‘Sewall-Belmont House and Museum’

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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During the first weekend in November, AAUW had the pleasure of hosting a two-day retreat in Washington, D.C., for the 10 outstanding college women leaders who make up this year’s National Student Advisory Council. Throughout their one-year terms, these exceptional women will advise AAUW about student life, promote AAUW programs on their campuses, write for the AAUW blog, and serve as leaders at the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June.

The 2011–12 SAC members traveled from all across the country — coming from as far away as California, Washington, and Colorado — to meet Friday afternoon at the AAUW national office. The retreat kicked off with a half-day information session aimed at giving each SAC member a better understanding of AAUW’s mission and its programs. Imagine trying to learn everything about AAUW in just three hours! Later that evening, the students had a chance to get to know each other and AAUW staff better over dinner.

On Saturday morning, the students volunteered for the Greater Washington Heart Walk and cheered on the women and men who braved the chilly morning to participate in the 1–3 mile walk around Nationals Park. SAC member Odunola Ojewumi from the University of Maryland, College Park, said that this volunteer experience was the highlight of her weekend.

The SAC members were also treated to a private tour of the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum to learn about the historic National Woman’s Party, the fight for women’s suffrage, and the Equal Rights Amendment campaign. They also took a tour of the U.S. Capitol.

SAC members Katie Donahoe and Laura Corrigan thought the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum visit was “inspiring.” Joy M. Agee from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said, “I really enjoyed looking at some of the original belongings of the women who were a part of the movement.”

The retreat concluded on Sunday with a morning session, where the women formulated their own leadership goals for the year; their goals included developing better negotiating skills, increasing voter registration on their campuses, and getting more students involved with AAUW. We finished our time together with a group stroll to the White House and to the newly dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. All of the SAC members were excited and proud to be in the nation’s capital in their new roles as AAUW ambassadors!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the SAC members in person and look forward to getting to know them better throughout the year. If you have an SAC member in your community, make sure to reach out and involve her in your activities! You can also meet these impressive women via their guest blog posts this year. Stay tuned to the AAUW blog to read about their tales of student leadership on campus, and join them for NCCWSL in June.

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Jennifer M. Perdomo.

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I remember being totally into spy stories as a kid. I had grand visions of breaking codes, sneaking into enemy territory, and saving the world. I did look into it during college but was told it was virtually impossible for a woman (as later described by Nora Slatkin, former executive director of the CIA, in her 1996 “Women in CIA” speech). My career interests changed dramatically as I started my lifelong path among nonprofits, still changing the world, but overtly.

The reason this came to mind recently was a story my sister-in-law told me while visiting Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago. She took one of those tourist boat trips and heard the story of the men-only elevator put in the Washington Monument when it was first built in the 1800s. Powered by a steam engine, it took 20 minutes to get to the top. Tea and wine were served to the male riders, while women and children were relegated to walking those 897 steps and 50 landings.

Her story got us reminiscing about men-only roadblocks we faced, like my almost-CIA job. She’s worked in the advertising arena for many years, so you can imagine the “old-boy” stories she remembers. We reflected on the men-versus-women pay differences experienced during our various career climbs (and that it felt like 897 steps at times). We then served ourselves tea and wine while lamenting the thousands of lost salary dollars due to pay inequality and toasted to the progress women have made. I caught her up on AAUW’s efforts on Capitol Hill, both on our victory with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and our ongoing fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act on behalf of all women.

If you are visiting D.C. this summer, be sure to check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts (AAUW helped get them started); the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, dedicated to the African American woman educator, presidential adviser, and political activist; the Clara Barton National Historic Site, which commemorates the life of the founder of the American Red Cross; and the Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, the former home of art collector and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Did I mention the National Women’s History Museum? If you are looking to visit this, forget it — the museum hasn’t yet received permission from Congress to buy land. Help AAUW support the organization working to secure permission for this privately financed museum near the National Mall.

Here’s one last recommendation for both women and men: Take time to visit one of the most fascinating museums in D.C. that celebrates the history of women’s progress toward equality, the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum. If you happen to be here on August 9, join AAUW at our Cocktails and Convos happy hour there from 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Do you have any for-men-only stories, whether they happened to you or that you learned from visiting somewhere? Do you have any favorite D.C. women-in-history places to recommend? Please share!

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