Department of Ethnic and Women's Studies

Outreach

In addition to teaching classes, our Ethnic and Women's Studies faculty understand the importance of outreach in communities near and far. Below are some of the programs our faculty are involved in.

Racial Issues Colloquium

The Racial Issues Colloquium at St. Cloud State University endeavors to be a positive model to other campus communities seeking to combat racism, discrimination and other forms of oppression. By means of curricular design the Colloquium contributes to the critical examination and transformation of campus culture as we teach to a generation of students that need to understand each other in a global society. We challenge our students to critically examine power relations while deepening and strengthening a commitment to racial and social justice.

Pipeline Summer Camp Programs

The Pipeline Summer Camp Programs aims to give elementary through high school students an eye-opener to college life at St. Cloud State. Depending on age, students participate in Math Science Computer Camp, Scientific Discovery Program, or Advanced Program in Technology and Science.

Feminism & Yoga

Beth Berila, Ph.D., Director, Women's Studies Program

Beth Berila teaches a yoga class at St. Cloud State.

My current work focuses on integrating feminism, yoga, and embodied learning.

This work happens on several fronts. First, I teach a weekly Yoga for Balance class at St. Cloud State that is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and community members. I also integrate various forms of mindfulness into my Women's Studies classes, so that students can develop more intentional embodied ways of learning. In addition, I have worked with both the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and Off the Mat, Into the World to better integrate yoga and social justice in the U.S. Finally, I write about the rich intersections of this work in my book, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education, (Routledge 2016). Learn more about my work at http://www.bethberila.com.

I completed my 340-hour yoga teacher training and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist certification with Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Prior to that, I completed my 200-Hour Teacher Training Certification with Senior Anusara Yoga Practitioners, Jordan and Martin Kirk. I have also completed trainings in Curvy Yoga and in Restorative Yoga. 

As I examine my role as a feminist scholar, a feminist teacher, a yoga practitioner and teacher, I am discovering new ways of thinking about and implementing the role of embodied learning.  By weaving feminist pedagogy with my yogic experience and my teacher training, I am forging significant ways of enhancing the learning process and of disrupting the Western mind/body split. This work will provide an important contribution in the field of feminist teaching and theory.”

NGATHA International

“Connecting the Local to the Global through Teaching, Scholarship, and Activism”

By Mumbi Mwangi

On July 7th 2006, while on a fact finding mission to Kenya on behalf of NGATHA International, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with several women groups about their community self-help development projects in Ndaragwa division, Nyahururu, Kenya.  Due to the fact that this area is part of Kenya’s Semi-Arid region, frequent draught and famine conditions have immensely exacerbated the level of poverty in many families.  Despite the deplorable status and harsh economic conditions, women in Ndaragwa have organized and initiated various self-help community-based projects to improve their lives and those of their children.  However, their efforts are greatly hampered by lack of material and financial resources. 

One thing that touched me the most is the plight of orphans in the area.  Poverty, compounded by the devastating HIV/Aids pandemic has contributed to a high number of orphans.  When famine strikes orphans are the most affected.  And, because such children are always at the mercies of the already impoverished community for provision, their schooling and livelihoods are adversely affected.  It is heartbreaking to see women who are already overly burdened with their household tasks taking up and extending their mothering and care-giving roles and responsibilities to the orphans thus stretching even thinner their meager resources.

The main objective of the orphanage is to give the most needy and at-risk-orphans a home-like environment that will cater to their total well-being.  The care of millions of orphans has become one of the greatest challenges facing many of the African countries including Kenya. In the past, the burden was often assumed by the extended family but unfortunately many people are experiencing an acute economic hardship.  NGATHA International Children’s Home opened its doors to 60 (Sixty) needy children in January 2007 and is currently taking care of their daily upkeep, including food, clothing, health and counseling.  We also started a school providing primary education from Kindergarten to 6th grade.  Because of the acute need for resources to run the orphanage, I started to mobilize the students at St Cloud State University to get involved in fundraising activities on campus to benefit the orphanage.  In addition to working with student organizations, I asked several faculty members to include NGATHA International orphanage project in the list of the service learning opportunities for their students.  I have had tremendous support from such programs as Social Responsibility, Human Relations and Women’s Studies as well as students’ organizations such as OPAA, African Students Association, and Women’s Action for Liberation and Leadership on campus. 

In line with the university’s mission to provide our students with international experience through globalizing our programs, this project has opened up new avenues of engagement with global issues for SCSU students.  The project has also enhanced my teaching, scholarship, and contribution to the university and the community as stipulated in Article 22 of EPT.  I have begun to see new lines of connection between teaching, creative scholarship and research emerging out of my teaching of the International Perspectives on Women and Gender, Women and Development in Third World, and the Study Abroad to Tanzania and the subsequent linking of these courses with Global/Transnational/Postcolonial activism through students’ initiatives and involvement with international outreach projects on campus through NGATHA International.  NGATHA International hopes to establish networks around its projects with the aim to connect the SCSU students with the St Cloud community and with the larger global community.