Apr 202003
 
Authors: Kristy Fenton

Students can get a broader picture of how women participate in the world at Women at Noon.

The weekly program dedicated to creating a space for women-centered discussion runs every Wednesday at noon in room 228 of the Lory Student Center.

“Women at Noon provides an opportunity for women and those interested in the lives of women to come together weekly in a safe place to listen, learn and dialogue in a non-threatening atmosphere,” said Karen Wedge, director of the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies.

The Women at Noon program has roots dating back to 1974, when Wedge formed a brown bag lunch women’s group for non-traditional female students. Contemporary Feminism gave women the option to pursue higher education degrees, and in the 1970s large numbers of women of all ages started attending universities nationwide.

The CSU brown bag lunch group was established as a place where women could make connections and find support as alternative students, Wedge said.

Initiated from the lunchtime tradition, Women at Noon evolved into a keynote speaker dialogue series with the help of the Kathryn T. Bohannon Women’s Program Fund.

“The program presents strong women role models from all walks of life that have experienced some success in the world and have insights to share with both women and men in attendance,” Wedge said.

Decisions are made about topics based on trends, issues related to the lives of women and the myriad ways women negotiate their pursuits, Wedge said.

Last week, about 50 women and men gathered to listen to Nina Roberts, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Natural Recreation and Tourism, speak about a national initiative to empower women and girls to Take Back the Trails, in an effort to counter violence against women and inform people about safety in the outdoors.

Thirty major colleges and universities organized events for Take Back the Trails and over 50 papers in large cities covered the event that occurred over Memorial Day weekend in 1997.

“I’m taken back by the fact that she couldn’t get more corporate sponsors. To know universities or places close to the foothills and CSU, like REI, aren’t interested in promoting safety in the outdoors is shocking,” said Stacey Finkelstein, a Fort Collins resident, regarding the problem Roberts faced with lack of corporate support for the national initiative.

Women at Noon is a place where people can dialogue about the present day challenges women face in the world and participate in discussing opportunities related to those challenges.

“Who are we as women, what are our dreams and how do we achieve them in light of the current barriers and/or challenges that face us?” Wedge asked.

Over half of the Women at Noon sessions are designed to support multicultural and diversity-related programming on campus.

Last week’s program titled, To Be or Not To Be…Sexual? coincided with the Take Back the Night march and taught healthy sexual relationships and violence prevention techniques.

“Our hope is to continue to provide a format that meets the same criteria regardless of financial exigencies,” said Wedge about current challenges faced as a result of budget reductions.

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