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SIUC celebrating Women’s History Month with guest speakers and more in March

In honor of Women’s History Month, Southern Illinois University Carbondale will host a variety of special events, guest speakers, exhibits and more during the month of March.

“‘Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ is the theme for our 2024 Women’s History Month, and we encourage women across campus to wear purple to show their spirit of celebration and solidarity as the month begins,” said Renada Greer, executive director of the Student Multicultural Resource Center and TRiO Student Support Services.

Virtually all events are free and open to the public.

dr-sheila-caldwell-sm.jpgThe kickoff is set for 4 p.m. March 4 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Sheila Caldwell, the inaugural vice president for anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer for the Southern Illinois University System, will be the guest speaker. A Chicago native, Caldwell coordinates all diversity and equity programs, nondiscrimination policies and equal opportunity compliance initiatives as she leads the system toward becoming an antiracist organization. She has experience both in academia and industry.

Recognizing success

Join Shavonne Simmons, an alumna of SIU’s social work program and former TRiO student for an Alumni Speaks presentation on March 5, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. After completing her bachelor’s degree at SIU, Simmons went on to Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis for graduate studies and is currently a doctoral student at Howard University. She will share her story, telling of her experiences at SIU and since, of her challenges and successes.

Then, the International Women’s Day Luncheon welcomes women of diverse backgrounds from across campus to join together to network and build community. The luncheon will be from noon to 1 p.m. March 8 in Rooms 150/160 of the Student Services Building. Five international women undergraduate/graduate students from diverse backgrounds will be honored for their service and leadership accomplishments. In addition, an internationally owned and operated women’s business will be recognized.

Broadening horizons

ashley-followell.jpg The month will offer a variety of opportunities to learn, to highlight the successes of others, and to support women as they strive to succeed. Equal Pay Day — the date until which women must work to be paid what their average male counterpart was paid the previous year — is March 12, and SIU will mark the occasion with Ashley Followell, affirmative action equal opportunity officer, providing a lunch and learn presentation at noon in Rooms 150/160 at the Student Services Building. dawn-korte-sm.jpgAnother lunch and learn session at 2 p.m. on March 29 will take place via Zoom featuring Dawn Korte, who has more than 25 years’ experience in operations, finance and human resources for various industries as well as serving on university faculty. Hosted by Network Empowering Women, the theme is “Women in the Workforce: Preparing and Building Negotiation Skills.”

Juniper Oxford, coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center, and Allison Hammer, assistant professor and coordinator of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, will team to present a research dialogue from 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 19 in the Student Services Building, Rooms 150/160 on “Trans Womanhood and Trans Femineity.”

Women in the C-Suite will highlight successful women and their accomplishments in higher education and beyond while also noting the challenges they experienced as they rose to the top in their fields.

Providing a network of support

leahsuttonjpg-sm.jpgGreer said women are also encouraged to gather to support the efforts of other women. For instance, Leah Sutton, a master’s student in fine arts, will host a thesis exhibit “Of Light and Shadow” from 5 to 7 p.m. March 22 in Room 1251 in the Mass Communication Building, and the Saluki softball team will play at 5 p.m. March 29 at Charlotte West Stadium against Northern Iowa University. It’s Women’s Night at the stadium, and there will be giveaways, prizes, food and extra special fun for all ladies, courtesy of the team and the Women’s Resource Center. Greer encourages women to turn out in support of the students and their efforts.

Various other events, including panel discussions, a roundtable and additional guest speakers, will take place throughout the month. The complete schedule will be posted on the Women’s Resource Center website.


All photos courtesy Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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