Presented by The Women’s Center
As the end of March approaches and the spring weather sets in, the Women’s Center at ODU is getting ready to host their annual Feminist Activist Fair. Partnered with the Women’s Studies department, the fair will be held Thursday, March 28, from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. in North Mall of Webb Center.
Students, faculty and visitors will be able to browse the information tables of the different vendors, resources and possible career opportunities. The purpose of this fair, as is the Women’s Center’s mission statement, is to “connect the ODU community to local organizations, promoting social justice, equality and empowerment for women and girls.”
Since 2009, Women’s Center Assistant Director Joann Bautti-Roche has lead numerous events held through the center, most importantly the Feminist Activist Fair.
“With the Women’s Center, we are really trying to support and empower women to reach their full potential personally, professionally and academically,” Bautti-Roche said.
Founded in October 1976, the ODU Women’s Center mission is to offer programs and services to promote gender equity, a safe campus, as well as a culture of care and respect throughout the male and female population. They excel in such qualities through leadership development programs to stimulate a healthy peer to peer relationship.
As far as the male students at ODU, they shouldn’t feel left out with all these programs focusing on women.
“We have male educators now through our M-Power program, male volunteers, programs specifically for men such as the ‘Walk A Mile In Her Shoes’ event, co-sponsorships with fraternities, as well as education with the athletics department,” Bautti said. “We want to bring men into all the work that we do because we really cannot have full equality without men involved.”
Student intern Krysta Pearce has the responsibility of constructing this fair, from top to bottom. Also behind the scene, Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer is in charge of public relations and marketing, as well as Katherine Monegro designing the graphic surrounding the event. By bringing together the numerous vendors, she hopes that these organizations promote awareness to issues around women. It is also an opportunity for these organizations to showcase what they do for our student and campus community, so that students will get an idea of possible internship, volunteer and employment opportunities.
Local organizations and some from as far out as Williamsburg and Washington, D.C. will be in attendance for this annual occasion. Students should be on the lookout for ODU organizations such as the Women’s Studies Department, the Office of Student Counseling Services and a new organization, the Women’s Business Center. Outside of the ODU community, companies such as the YWCA, Genieve Shelter and Avalon, a center for women and children, will be in attendance as well.
Krysta described this endeavor as one of the best experiences she’s ever had. “It was really important to know the people that I’ve come into contact with. I just hope that the students who come out and support [the event] will be in the right direction towards finding jobs, internships or even volunteer experience,” she said.
Attendees of the Feminist Activist Fair can hash tag #FemFair2013 to let the ODU community be in the know of what’s going on and can visit the Women’s Center website at odu.edu/womenscenter or their Twitter at twitter.com/ODUWomensCenter for more information and updates regarding the event.
By: Rae Parker