By Brittany Parker
The Office of Student Engagement & Retention will hold meetings March 28 and 29 to access interest in the program. The initiative is part of the college’s celebration of Women’s History Month.
Courtney Carter Harbour, executive dean of OSER, said people have asked why the college does not have a leadership program for women. Eastfield’s Men’s Empowerment Coalition is a longstanding and successful club, and the district also has a M.A.L.E.S. Mentoring and Retention Program that seeks to increase the graduation rates of African-American and Latino male students.
Harbour said she wants to hear from faculty, staff and students about what type of program to set up for women. It could be a club or sorority connected to a national group or an initiative that involves one-on-one mentoring.
Like Black History Month, Women’s History Month is an important opportunity to honor unsung heroes, Harbour said.
“Women’s History Month teaches women how they can empower themselves and each other,” she said.
The national women’s history theme this year is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” Honorees include Daisy Bates, who led the integration of Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957; Ella Grasso, the first woman governor elected without having been married to a former governor; and Nancy Grace Roman, former chief of astronomy at NASA and the “mother” of the Hubble Telescope.
For its campus celebration, Eastfield adopted the theme #GirlBoss, which is designed to promote discussions of issues that affect women
and society. The keynote speaker on March 31 will be Leslie Sanchez, an author, former director of the White House Office on Hispanic Education and contributor to the live-streaming news channel CBSN.
Other events include a visit by Cedar Valley President Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, performances during the Wednesday recital series, a screening of the film “Amreeka,” lectures and a Wonder Women Trivia tournament for students.
The trivia game will be played scholar-bowl style by teams of four that must answer questions about prominent women in history, entertainment, sports, literature and science. The top teams will be awarded prizes. Teams must pre-register in the OSER office by March 23 for the March 30 event.
Women have played vital roles in many areas of American society, including science, government, the arts, the law, civil rights and feminism. Harbour said if she could meet one famous woman, she would like to discuss feminism with Gloria Steinem.
“She has an interesting perspective on feminism,” Carter said. “I’d like to know how she conceptualized it when she was young and if it changed as she got older.”
Lauren Anderson, program specialist for OSER, said she would have liked to meet Kilgore Rangerettes founder Gussie Nell Davis, who died in 1993.
“Without her we wouldn’t have the modern day drill team,” she said. “She taught those girls manners and poise, and that is really important.”