Archive | November, 2011

Prepare for Black Friday with an early Cyber Monday!

17 Nov

Here’s just a quick and friendly reminder from your neighborhood Women’s Initiative member that our Cyber Monday event will be on November 21st from 7-11 in the main lounge! We’ll have discussion, tips, and stations to discover how anonymous you truly are on the internet, and how to protect yourself from online harassment.

You don’t have to stay the whole time, and snacks will be provided! Tell a friend and make sure to brave the cold-ish weather and come!

**Also, there will be a raffle for FREE PRIZES like t-shirts and a subscription to Bitch magazine! Who wouldn’t want to get free things before Black Friday?

-The Women’s Initiative

P.S.–(Props to whoever got my reference in here! It’s pretty old school).

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A Guide to Becoming Rich and Famous

16 Nov

Here is this weeks The View From Venus column, which can be found in the November 15th issue of The Chronicle, or on their website.

A Guide to Becoming Rich and Famous

by: E-board member Emily Perez

This week, instead of focusing on an issue specific to women, I have decided to write about one that concerns the human race in general. I want to write about compassion; the rarity of it, the appreciation of it, and the enduring power of it. If you are a Facebook user, you may have noticed a recent effort by senior Justin McCormack to strengthen our community with The Saint Rose Kindness Movement. When asked about the origins of his online campaign, McCormack noted that, “Saint Rose has a wonderfully close knit community.However, over the years I have noticed a disheartening trend on campus. When I pass by people that I’ve met but don’t know too well, they never seem to acknowledge that they know me. Often times I’d wondered if maybe it was just me that this happened to. It was not until a few weeks ago that I realized it wasn’t…That’s when I came up with the idea for the ‘Saint Rose Kindness Movement.”

“The intention of the movement is very simple: All it asks is for you to smile, wave, nod, maybe even say ‘hi’ to the people you pass throughout the day…This simple act of kindness can often make a person’s day and can sometimes spark new friendships. My hope is that it will at least bring some smiles to people’s faces and make everyone’s day a little brighter.”

Some people may question how greeting someone on the sidewalk on the way to class or stopping to help someone pick up their belongings could affect change. Sometimes I think of all the good things I have thought about other people and never said, of the unacknowledged blessings granted to me, and the muddle of unuttered declarations of thankfulness for those who have changed my life with their actions.  Regret colors my reflections on all I could have done to pay forward the gifts I have received. In order to engender compassion and gratitude in our day to day actions, I propose that we carry out the mission of the Saint Rose Kindness Movement by striving to bring attention to the moments of beauty we experience.

Do you share with others when you encounter a moment of unanticipated kindness, joy or love? Do you let the silver-lining moments of the day fade into nothingness, or do you sustain their shine by taking them as an opportunity to affect change?

For every act of kindness you observe in a single day, I challenge you to share what you saw and respond with your own demonstration of compassion and generosity. You might not be able to measure the magnitude of this change in your daily life, but it will run deep in the hearts of those you help.

We all need to stop and reflect on what we could be doing to support each other in these difficult times, because even the smallest act can make all the difference between floating and falling. Instead of constantly monitoring our own progress in trying to become the best, the most well known, the most sought after, we might instead try to redefine our standards of success in terms of how powerfully we have affected the lives of those who inhabit our world. To that end, I would like to close with words from the poem “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye:

“I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.”

St. Rose’s Selective Health Care

8 Nov

The View from Venus (November 8th, 2011)
Tiffany Knapp

Something many students may not be aware of is St. Rose’s policy on birth control access, namely that they don’t allow Health Services to provide or be involved in the administration of it. This is attributed, as one might expect, to the Catholic history of St. Rose. While I understand that the traditions of the College should be honored and not forgotten, I disagree with forcing particular religious values on the body of students, particularly now that St. Rose is a non-parochial institution. When being recruited to the College of Saint Rose, I asked about the Catholic traditions of the College and how they impacted the academics and student life on campus. I was told that they didn’t, because St. Rose was no longer a Catholic institution. However, the College has decided to take a “zero tolerance” stance on this issue on the basis of religion, and does not allow for our Health Services office to provide condoms or administer birth control.

This applies in particular to a type of birth control called Depo-Provera, which is a shot. I myself am on this type of birth control, and ran into a recent issue with being able to take it. Because Health Services is my only option for health care here at the College, and all this service requires is a nurse’s visit for a shot, I went to Health Services, requesting that they administer it. I was informed that they would not be able to because the College restricts the type of medical care they are allowed to give – had the shot been anything but birth control, they would have been allowed to assist me. However, because the Depo shot is used primarily as a means of birth control, the College has prohibited Health Services from administering it to students. I was directed either to Urgent Care or Planned Parenthood, both of which are a reasonable distance away from the College. Lacking a vehicle, this presented a problem.

In addition to being a general inconvenience, the assumption is that everyone who is on birth control is using it primarily as a means for birth control. There are medical conditions which are treated with it. For example, I knew a girl who was also on Depo (and was also turned away from Health Services) in order to regulate her hormones so that she would be able to have children some day. Without this regulation, she could have become barren – by being refused care by St. Rose, she may well have been risking her dreams of children some day. Severe menstrual cramps, mood swings, and even acne are treated with birth control as well.

Furthermore, the basis for this ban is a particular religion, to which not all students on this campus may subscribe. First, the College is no longer religiously affiliated. Yes, it has Catholic traditions and background, but not all traditions need to be carried into the future. In addition, a variety of religions are represented on campus, and not all of those view birth control in the same way that Catholicism does. Being raised Irish Catholic, I can say from experience that not even all Catholics agree with banning access to all types of birth control.

This narrow viewpoint does not reflect the wide range of campus values, and forces students to adopt particular values that they may not agree with – and they aren’t told this when they enroll, even if they explicitly ask if the Catholic traditions of the College are going to affect them. The College of Saint Rose has misled its prospective students into a sense of religious freedom, when in reality, Catholic values are imposed upon them.

The View from Venus (November 1, 2011)

3 Nov

Below is this week’s “The View from Venus” article written by a founding member of the Women’s Initiative, Grace O’Shaughnessy. 🙂

By Grace O’Shaughnessy

The Saint Rose Women’s Initiative began as an answer to a question: Why are there no spaces for women’s issues to be discussed on campus?

It can often be hard for women by themselves, particularly of college age, to identify what advocacy roles they can take. By coming together and discussing their experiences within the social-historical context of twenty-first century college life, ideas about how women can advocate for themselves and others becomes more clear.

I was among the founding members of the Women’s Initiative. Teaching others about women’s issues taught me all the ways women embody feminism. Some women eschew the label, relegating it to a relic of 1960s bra-burning radicals (which, I should note, is a myth. They didn’t actually burn bras in the ‘60s). Through discussion, they often found that they had not yet realized the term “feminist” could encompass their feelings of oppression and desire for liberation. Others embraced it loudly, taking to the streets, the web, and the classroom to spread the women’s movement.

In other words, we found that feminism is a big tent. Two cases embody the scope of this ideology.

First, I can recall meeting a member of the Women’s Initiative several years ago who joined because she contracted the human papillomavirus (HPV) and felt that it was a huge women’s public health concern. She joined solely to promote this message and we embraced her. We affirmed that all issues had inherent worth and told her that she brought a dialogue to the table that many could not.

Similarly, I remember a more radical feminist at one of our first events, a women’s resource fair. At this fair were various women’s health organizations that focused on reproductive justice issues. One group represented a pro-life stance, another was pro-choice. While at the event I saw a student raging against the pro-life representative, conveying what it meant to have a pro-life organizer at a historically Catholic college. I saw that energy as an opportunity and encouraged the radical to join the Women’s Initiative.

The group offered a space for her to harness her rage. We discussed on a personal level what reproductive issues mean to women, and feminists, of all kinds. There were those that felt comfortable with the issue and those that didn’t. More than anything, it served to demonstrate how the Women’s Initiative could bring together a diverse group.

I took my experiences of organizing groups around themes of social justice at Saint Rose to pursue a Master’s in Social Work in Nonprofit Management at Columbia University. Today, the struggle is different. I am faced with my feminist identity in ways I have never been. Simultaneously, my workload means I don’t have the time to lead and organize in ways that I once did and am not actively a part of a women’s community on campus. This is a difficult tension. Furthermore, living in New York City, amongst millions of people, I see how gender disparities are intersecting with class and race more than I ever have. It challenges me to think more critically and re-examine all of the assumptions I have had.

The artist Chuck Close said, “I have been married for forty years. It’s not one marriage. By then you’ve had four or five totally different marriages.

This is exactly how I feel about feminism. As we get older, the concepts of our ideologies evolve, but that is no reason to discount the authenticity of what we think or what we have thought. The most important thing is to think critically and discuss widely.

It is my hope that the Women’s Initiative is still and will continue to be that place for growth.