Month: March 2018


Educational Program of the Month
Knoll Celebrates International Women's Day 2018

School: University of Nebraska - Lincoln Region: MACURH
Person in charge: Knoll Residence Life Staff Nominator: Pankaj Desai

Target Population: 450 Time Needed to Organize:
Number of People in Attendance: 75 Date(s) of Program: 03.07.2018
Number of People Needed to Organize: 6 Cost of Program: $700
On-Campus Population: 5700 Chapter Size: 40

Origin of Program:

This event was a response to the internationally accepted #MeToo campaign that gave voice to the numerous victims of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. This campaign brought to light the horrific personal stories of numerous individuals, especially women, who were so far unable to share their stories and were carrying the burden of guilt for someone else’s crimes against them. The Knoll Residence Life Staff, led by their RD Pankaj Desai, decided to showcase this as a relevant issue in the community. The idea was to not only publicize this movement within the community but also to in turn celebrate the spirit of womanhood. The innumerable contributions of women to society have made the “American dream” possible. The organizers envisioned this program to bring together not only women but everyone from within the community to talk about women’s issues and find a common thread that would become a source of strength for many. At the same time, this event was aimed at helping students relax, practice-self-love, and self-care as an exercise in finding strength within themselves to express themselves as they are. Celebrated annually, this event is the celebration of women’s rights and contribution to our society!

Word Count: 199

Please give a short description of the program:

What does an individual do when they have been a victim of sexual assault and harassment yet they must muster the strength to “move on with their lives” as if nothing happened? Most people, especially women, tend to do just that – remain silent, while suffering, and move on while revisiting the personal humiliation from time to time. This past fall, the #MeToo movement gave voices to countless individuals who were victims of sexual, violence, harassment, abuse, and relationship violence and brought them together under one global umbrella! Wanting to take this conversation further, we at the Knoll Residential Center wanted to highlight not only the gut-wrenching experiences of women but also shed a positive light on this movement. With that in mind, we hosted “Knoll Celebrates International Women's Day 2018” which was a call to celebrate the spirit of womanhood and empower women with a sense of belonging. While everyone was welcome to be a part of this celebration, the focus was on highlighting the contribution of women to our society and celebrating them as the strength of the community. Morgan from Voices of Hope was invited to speak at the event and highlight the #MeToo movement as a faceless leader of the cause! Morgan reached out to the audience with her empathetic and powerful message about the importance of sharing one’s story and support each other. She emphasized how the movement has now become much larger than its original intent to include the stories of all identities ranging from men to people of color which really struck a chord with many in the audience. Complementing our focus on the #MeToo campaign was our positive focus on celebrating the beauty of the Self. We celebrated the sspirit of womanhood through the idea “you are beautiful in your own skin” and invited a professional henna artist to add to that celebration of the self! Our audience totally loved getting henna tattoos and connecting with their inner beauty through body art. Adding to the theme were massage therapists from UNL Campus Rec. who brought in the much needed relief so close to midterms! Peer educators from UNL Health Center did a great job of educating the students on women's health issues. We also had art therapy with mandala coloring sheets and a photo booth to celebrate the contribution of women to society in classic Rosie the Riveter theme!

Word Count: 398

Goals of the program:

The goal of this program was multifaceted and managed to cover all of them! The main goal to bring the community together to celebrate the spirit of womanhood while taking forward the conversation regarding the #MeToo movement. The large number of people who showed up at the event to engage with Morgan from Voices of Hope and talk about how the movement has affected their own lives fulfilled this goal. Our intention was to also provide our residents some respite from the stress of the approaching midterms. We combined this goal with the idea of celebrating womanhood, self-love, self-care, and inner beauty through art and humor. So many residents wanted to pose as Rosie the Riveter in the themed photo booth to showcase the contribution of working women society. And they loved striking a pose for the camera! We also wanted to ensure that residents were able to alleviate their stress through this event. With that purpose in mind, we had free massages for our residents as well as mandala coloring sheets. This event also introduced many to the idea of temporary body art though the henna artist who shared the traditional art with the students.

Word Count: 197

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

This was one of the best events witnessed by the community in recent times! Taking up a social issue and looking at it from the double perspectives of global and local ramifications was eye-opening for many of our residents. Many residents connected with the idea of celebrating the spirit of womanhood and supporting one another. Many of the residents were introduced to Voices of Hope as a useful and confidential resource available to them and others within the community. Discussing the #MeToo movement brought the issue closer to home and made it personal for the community who saw the importance of being active bystanders and speaking out against the culture of relationship violence. The event was a great stress-buster for the residents so close to the midterms! Many residents stayed till the very end coloring mandala sheets or simply interacting with others. This event certainly seemed to provide a much-needed break from all the intense studying during that week. The event introduced two diverse activities like mandala coloring sheets and henna body art to the community that are not normally associated with the mainstream idea of stress-relief. The RA staff were elated on the success of the program!

Word Count: 198

Short evaluation of the program:

This event was successful in how it connected the residents to the idea of being active bystanders and speaking out against violence. Celebrating womanhood on International Women’s Day brought attention to women’s issues as well as contributions of women in shaping our society. This event also helped individuals build solidarity with each other and find a resonance of personal stories with that of others in the larger community. At the same time, the success of the event comes from its celebrative take on women’s issues. This celebration of womanhood was inclusive and community-oriented that brought everyone together to respect one another as equal contributing members of society. The residents really enjoyed getting free massages and henna art and shared that it felt therapeutic. Many residents informed themselves about women health issues through the Peer educators from the Health Center. Everyone said that the program was well-thought of and having so many different components to it made it exciting. This was a great amalgamation of an educational program, a social issue, and a de- stressing event. This event went a long way in boosting the morale of the Knoll RAs who hosted this program with great enthusiasm!

Word Count: 195

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

The real success of this program lies in how accessible it is! It does a great job of bringing together different global and local causes under one roof. From celebrating the UN sanctioned International Women’s Day to brining in local campus partners like Voices of Hope, the Health Center, and the Campus Recreation, the event holds potential for campus-wide collaborations. Different campus partners like the Women’s Center, LGBTQA+ Center, Prevent, etc. can all become event partners at different campuses. Also, since the event falls on March 8 and close to midterms each year, the event serves as a great stress reliever! With free massages, henna art therapy, and coloring pages, it is very easy to bring in the stress-alleviation component into this celebration! This program with its many parts provides the RAs and the RD with the positive challenge of bringing together different campus partners and hosting a truly collaborative event! It fulfils the dual role of gratifying both the residents as well as the staff who work to organize this program! What makes this event very adaptable is that it can assume any form and is only limited by the vision of the organizers! And, it is fun!

Word Count: 199

Date of entry into database: 2018-03-26 16:05:04

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