A will to promote awareness of women’s issues

Students read poetry and sang during the Open Mic event. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Parks)

Women in Learning and Leadership (W.I.L.L.) kicked off their first big event of the semester at The Vagina Monologues Art Show/Open Mic Night on Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Brower Student Center.

The event promoted the College’s tenth year in hosting a production of Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues,” a series of plays centered around the vagina as a source of empowerment for women and a mission to end violence against women.

Various groups on campus joined together to take part in the evening  including W.I.L.L.,  Amnesty International, Womanspace, the Office of Anti-Violence Initiatives and Voices for Planned Parenthood.

Being that this commemorates the production’s tenth anniversary at the College, the W.I.L.L. program wanted to do something slightly different to spread awareness, according to Sarah Scholz, head director of the event and senior journalism major.

“We were looking to change it up this year by having people make their own activist art,” she said. “People creating and forming art became the theme.”

The various organizations set up informational booths throughout the room geared toward educating the attendees about issues impacting women.

Attendees could participate in various arts and crafts as well as make a one-dollar donation, in which all proceeds go directly to the organizations to help stop violence.

Crafts included creating origami vaginas, making necklaces and constructing representations of the female anatomy out of pipe cleaners, pom-poms and feathers.

The Amnesty International table was one of many that informed its attendees of these issues through crafts. People were taught how to make magazine bracelets, meant to represent women in third world countries who are victims of sexual violence and human trafficking that make and sell the bracelets for a living.

“I think a lot of times people overlook issues of violence against women, I mean it happens on campus and people need to work together to end violence,” Scholz said.

Several performers from the area were even able to have a chance at the mic and support the event. Members of the campus literary club ink read their poetry pertaining to these issues against women, while other students who volunteered to perform chose to put on acoustic musical performances.

Scholz and her team were even able to bring in an acoustic band, Semiotics, from Lacey, N.J. to participate in the show.

“The point of all of these activities was to have a really cool way to raise funds for our beneficiaries so people can have fun and sponsor the Vagina Monolugues” said Allison Shadel, co-chair of the event and senior journalism and women’s and gender studies double major.

The evening was finished with an art auction where people could bid on actual artwork made by present and former students. The pieces were of the female anatomy and wooden figurines and paintings of women.

This year’s “Vagina Monologues” shows will be held on Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 26 in the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall.