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Women on Wednesday
Women on

Fall 2009
St Cloud State University | Women's Center

Events and Programming

Women on Wednesday 2009
Celebrating 20 Years
Education | Advocacy | Empowerment

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Atwood Theatre Noon - 1:00 pm

The Vagina Monologues
7:00pm Atwood Ballroom
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Download Poster (pdf)

Women on Wednesday
Fall 2009

2009 Poster (pdf)
2009 Program Guide (pdf)

Education, Advocacy and Empowerment:
Celebrating 20 Years at the Women’s Center
Atwood Theatre Noon - 1:00 pm

On October 23, 1989, the Women’s Center opened its doors after several years of activism by students, faculty and staff that had witnessed, experienced and identified specific concerns of women on campus.  The need for greater safety and the demand for equal educational opportunities were at the center of documented gender inequities that supported the development of a Women’s Center at SCSU in the 1980s.

The first Women on Wednesday presentation was held six weeks after the Women’s Center opened in the form of a brown bag lunch in the lower level of the former Women’s Center (at the now-demolished Colbert House North, a building over-looking the Mississippi River).  Over the last 20 years, through programming, services, activism and alliance-building, the Women’s Center has worked to break down barriers and support new opportunities in the lives of women.  We have evolved with the changing needs, issues and political climate of the region and country.  Join the Women’s Center as we feature presentations on the past, present and future of feminist change.

Women on Wednesday Fall 2009

Education, Advocacy and Empowerment:
Celebrating 20 Years at the Women's Center

(Click on a title below to see additional information.)

Women on Wednesday Fall 2009 Schedule

Click on a title below for more information.

mp3September 9, 2009:
Across the Generations: Empowering women for over 20 years

The opening session of Fall 2009 Women on Wednesday hosts former and current faculty and staff of the Women’s Studies Program and Women’s Center in celebration of the Women’s Center’s 20th anniversary.  Panelists will discuss their experiences of engaging in feminist teaching, activism and empowerment throughout the last two decades.  


  • Dr. Beth Berila, Director of the SCSU Women’s Studies Program
  • Lee LaDue, Assistant Director/Coordinator of the Gender Violence Prevention Program at the SCSU Women’s Center
  • Dr. Mumbi Mwangi, Associate Professor, SCSU Women’s Studies Program
  • Jane Olsen, Director of the Women’s Center
  • Dr. June Parrott, Faculty Emeritus, former Professor in the SCSU Women’s Studies Program (invited)
  • Pat Samuel, former Director of the SCSU Women’s Studies Program

mp3September 16, 2009:
Why Dumping that Sexist Boyfriend Just Isnít Enough: Feminism as a challenging, wonderful, crazy journey

While we expect that creating such institutional and societal changes will be challenging, young feminists have been tricked into thinking that living out our feminist ideologies on a daily basis will be easy. It won’t.  In order to challenge this underlying position that permeates third-wave feminist literature, Thomsen will weave some of the trials and tribulations of her own feminist journey through academia, research institutes and non-profits--from rural South Dakota to California--into broader discussions about third-wave feminist discourse, assumptions and ideologies.


  • Carly Thomsen received her B.A. in Rhetoric from SCSU in 2004, and is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. While earning an M.A. from the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, she re-founded the campus Women’s Resource Center and led a campaign to transition it from being student-run to professionally-directed.

mp3September 23, 2009:
The New Racism

Blatant forms of racism continue to exist, but more subtle, equally destructive forms continue to have a significant impact in every corner of U.S. society.  A new discourse on racism draws attention to continuing problems such as “color-blindness” and tokenism, and newer perspectives such as intersectionality. This more contemporary framework explores the way that other forms of oppression, such as sexism, heterosexism, and classism, sustain injustice and further inequality.


  • Dr. Niloufer Merchant is a Professor & Department Chair of Educational Leadership & Community Psychology at St. Cloud State University.  Merchant’s areas of interest include multicultural and gender issues in counseling, working with underserved populations, and grass-roots community organizing.
  • Staci Shea is a second-year graduate student in the Social Responsibility program and graduate assistant with the Gender Violence Prevention Program at the Women’s Center.  Her areas of interest include oppression and privilege, new racism, and civil rights.  Upon graduation, Shea plans to work in the area of human rights.
  • Dr. Sandrine Zerbib is a French sociologist and faculty member in the Sociology and Anthropology department at St. Cloud State University.  Zerbib is currently teaching Research Methods, Democratic Citizenship and Sociology of Gender, with a research interest in immigration and sexuality politics.

mp3September 30, 2009:
Latinaís Organize!

This panel presentation and discussion focuses on the joys, challenges, leadership and activism of a group of Latinas living in Central Minnesota, working toward strengthening Latino/a communities through advocacy, education and art.


  • Mayuli Bales, Director of Casa Guadalupe in Cold Spring, MN and board member of Perseverancia.
  • Martha A. Noyola, Undergraduate Academic Adviser with the Academic Support Center at SCSU Multicultural Student Services and board member of Perseverancia.
  • Lupita Saucedo, Professional Interpreter and board member of Perseverancia.
  • Monica M. Segura-Schwartz, Manager of Legal Immigration Services/La Cruz Community Services at Catholic Charities and board member of Perseverancia.

mp3October 7, 2009:
Moving Beyond: A new LGBT movement

Over the past decades, LGBT communities have been caught in an ongoing cycle of defensive and short-term struggles making it difficult to focus on the broader goal of LGBT liberation within a broad context of social, racial, and economic justice.  Do we dare build an inclusive and dynamic movement around a bold vision for the social change we want?


  • Beth Zemsky, MAEd, LICSW is a consultant in multicultural organizational development with organizations working towards social change and movement building. She has 25 years of experience as a community organizer, educator, and organizational leader, including the Director of the GLBT Programs Office at the University of Minnesota and former co-chair of the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

Cosponsored by the SCSU LGBT Resource Center in celebration of National Coming Out Day

mp3October 7, 2009:October 14, 2009:
Taking Action: Organizing Against Pornography

Various students affiliated with the Women’s Center and feminist student organizations have organized against pornography through education and direct action over the past 20 years.  Join this panel of former SCSU students for a walk through this history from the 1990s to the present.


  • Kayla Gabbert is a second year graduate student in the Applied Behavioral Analysis program at SCSU.  Since interning at the Women’s Center and attending the National Feminist Anti-Pornography Conference in 2007, she has been an activist for the rights and empowerment of women and children. 
  • Lucille Guinta-Bates received a M.S. in Social Responsibility from St. Cloud State University in 2008, and is currently an adjunct instructor in Human Relations and Multicultural Education at SCSU.  Guinta-Bates attended the 2007 National Feminist Anti-pornography Conference and returned to SCSU inspired to educate and organize others.
  • Leah Hebert is a 1996 graduate of SCSU with a B.A. in English and minor in Women’s Studies.  She is currently the Executive Director of the West Suburban Teen Clinic and is the former Program Director at the Midwest Health Center for Women and Director of Pro-choice Resources.  Hebert participated in an internship at the Women’s Center, was a member of the Women’s Equality Group in the mid 1990s, and one of the regular protesters of local porn shops.
  • Stephanie Larson is a 1995 graduate of SCSU with a B.A. degree in Social Work and minor in Human Relations.  She was employed at the Women’s Center and involved in the weekly protests organized by the Women’s Equality Group.  Larsen is currently an Independent Living Specialist with Independent Lifestyles, Inc. and a member of the Stearns County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council, Board Member and former President of NAMI St. Cloud Area, and member of the CommUnity Project Adult Mental Health Initiative Council.

mp3October 7, 2009:October 21, 2009:
Making History: One womanís story of activism and leadership

In recognition of National Young Women’s Day of Action, this session highlights one remarkable woman’s commitment to her community.  Through public service, political organizing and activism, our speaker models the multiple ways women are active in their communities and catalysts for local change with a broader impact. 


  • Nevada Littlewolf is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, serves on the Virginia, MN City Council, works as the White House Project Rural Leadership Field Organizer, and is the mother of two children.  She is passionate about creating leadership opportunities and building community for all people. She has been an advocate for youth, American Indian people, and her community for years.

In celebration of National Young Women’s Day of Action

mp3October 28, 2009:
This is what a feminist looks like!

The focus of third-wave feminism includes discussion around identity politics, sexuality, empowerment and technology-aided activism.  Young women sometimes struggle with society’s stereotypes about feminism, in contrast to their own experiences and perspectives.  Join the discussion about the relevance of feminism in young women’s lives, along with the contradictions and challenges of living as feminists.


  • Terri Johnson is a second year graduate student at SCSU in Mass Communications and a graduate assistant with Multicultural Student Services.
  • Angie Witte is a Korean-adoptee and 2006 SCSU graduate.  Angie is currently the Program Coordinator for Multicultural Student Services and a Women’s Studies adjunct faculty member.
  • Julia Zschernitz holds a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently pursuing her M.A. in English at SCSU, where she has studied feminist rhetoric and served as a teaching assistant.

mp3November 4, 2009:
Sex Trafficking in Minnesota

Stereotypes about sex trafficking lead some to assume that this human rights violation doesn’t happen in Minnesota but, in fact, research suggests that 8,000 to 12,000 people are involved in prostitution and sex trafficking every day in Minnesota.  This session will explore current grassroots and legislative advocacy to fight trafficking, historical and recent responses to prostitution and sex trafficking, and the impact of sex trafficking among our diverse population of girls and women.

  • Mary C. Ellison is a Women’s Program Staff Attorney at The Advocates for Human Rights.  Ellison co-authored the publication, Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota, and testified before the Minnesota Legislature during the 2009 legislative session.  
  • Angela Bortel is the founder of The Bortel Firm, LLC, focusing on immigration and nationality law.  She has worked directly with survivors of trafficking, as well as engaged in research and policy advocacy on sex trafficking in the United States and Russia.

November 18, 2009:
Networks of Support: Somali women in St. Cloud

More than 60,000 Somali’s have immigrated to Minnesota since 1995, giving our state the largest Somali community in the U.S.  Somali women, as women in other communities, face unique challenges, but they have also created their own networks of support, as this panel of intergenerational women will address.  

Panelists are members of the St. Cloud Area Somali Women's Association (SASWA)

December 2, 2009:
Thirty years of Commitment, Courage and Change

On December 16, 1979 Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson exchanged rings and vowed to love one another for the rest of their lives. Their commitment gained national and international attention when Sharon was critically injured by a drunk driver and her partner, Karen, was barred from seeing her. Through a 9 ½ year legal battle, during which she became Sharon’s guardian, Karen underwent a transformation from a naïve and apolitical person to a change agent and activist. Karen will describe how Sharon’s case brought leaders of national organizations together for the first time – leaders of women’s rights groups, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights groups, and disability rights groups. She will focus on the interconnection of oppressions and the necessity of building coalitions.


  • Karen Thompson has taught at SCSU for 34 years and is a professor in the Human Relations and Multicultural Education Department. She teaches courses in racial issues and non-oppressive relationships.


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