Women on Wednesday

Women on Wednesday is a weekly noon-hour lecture series organized each semester by the Women’s Center that has become a signature program at St. Cloud State University. The goal of the program is to feature diverse women and their distinctive areas of expertise, which are figuratively and literally all over the map.  The topics we explore are as diverse as the women presenting them, but they address the political, economic, social and personal arenas that impact the status of women.

The 25-year old series originated as an informal brown bag lunch gathering and has evolved over the years to a more formal presentation-style series, bringing intelligent, savvy women from the local to the national level to speak to our campus community. The series is held in the Atwood Theatre in Atwood Memorial Center, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. most Wednesdays throughout fall and spring semesters.  Admission is free and open to the public. 

The Women’s Center will celebrate 25 years on the campus of St. Cloud State University during the 2014/15 Academic Year.  The Women’s Center was born from activism of faculty, staff and students in direct and indirect ways and through persistence and passion for feminist-led social change.  Our mission to advance women and address gender inequity is accomplished in myriad ways, including advocacy (both individual and institutional), support services, educational programming, scholarships and systems change. Having an institutionally-supported office to help students (and employees) explore and address the ways in which gender influences every aspect of one’s life exists for only 18% of students at four-year universities and colleges in the U.S. It is in this context that the Fall 2014 Women on Wednesday series has been organized.

We explore the following questions: What are some of the most important issues that have impacted student’s lives in relationship to gender over the past 25 years?  What impact has the work of the Women’s Center had on individual students who worked, interned, volunteered or in some way affiliated with the Women’s Center?  What would St. Cloud State University look and be like without the Women’s Center. Who are some of our feminist leaders today?

The Women’s Center has hosted more than 750 women from all walks of life, areas of expertise, diverse identities and life experiences over the past 25 years.  There is no way to avoid the word “wow” upon reviewing the women who have presented and topics we’ve addressed.  Please join us at Women on Wednesday during the 2014/15 academic year as we continue to offer this unique and interesting forum for women’s voices.

Current Series

Fall 2014 Series Poster

Fall 2014 Series Booklet (Includes Session Descriptions and Speaker Bios)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Diversity Efforts to Build Bridges

Anti-racism and alliance building efforts occurred early in the history of the Women’s Center. In 1994, due to the efforts of many feminists on campus, groundbreaking work happened through cultural diversity retreats and projects. How does this past work and the many stories from these efforts affect students today?  How have faculty impacted students through WOW and other educational venues? Very importantly, what does work undertaken 20 years ago on campus mean for the future of today’s students? 

Panelists:  Jane Olsen has been the director of the Women’s Center at St. Cloud State University since its inception 25 years ago. She started her post-graduate school career working in a Springfield, Illinois shelter for battered women in the early 1980s and has worked for 32 years in programs advocating for women and advancing women’s rights and opportunities. Olsen has a master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Dr. June Parrott is faculty emeritus from St. Cloud State University, where she taught from 1989 to 2001 in Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies.  Prior to her position at St. Cloud State, she held faculty positions in sociology in the District of Columbia and the Center for Women Policy Studies, and before many universities and colleges had formal departments of Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. Dr. Parrott served on the Women’s Cultural Diversity and Planning Committee throughout the 1990s.

Hedy Tripp is an activist, artist, writer and educator.  She is Manager and Consultant of W-Isms, LLC, that mentors women of color in the community. She is currently the Chair of the national governing board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) as well as Treasurer of the local St. Cloud NAPAWF chapter. Tripp is also on the Governor’s Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM) that advocates for the needs of AAPIs in Minnesota. At St. Cloud State University she is an instructor in the Department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies for the Asian American studies program. Tripp is currently teaching “Health and Sexuality in AAPI communities.”

Dr. Tami Spry is a professor of performance studies in the communication studies department at St. Cloud State University. Her teaching, publication, and performance work focuses on issues of social justice, gender violence, mental health, race, and loss as articulated through performing autoethnography and non-traditional texts. Spry is the 2014 recipient of the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance given by the National Communication Association, an honor given to people who have contributed to exceptional scholarship and performance. Her publications appear in Text and Performance Quarterly, Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies, Qualitative Inquiry, International Review of Qualitative Research, Women and Language, as well as various anthologies. Spry’s book Body/Paper/Stage: Writing and Performing Autoethnography was published through Left Coast Press in 2011.