Social justice has been a frequently discussed topic on campus, especially following the “ghetto”-themed party and the creation of the new club Racial Justice is Social Justice. With Women’s History Month this past month, the topic has continued to soar, with various events and dialogues around campus facilitating conversation.
Some of these events have included the American Association of University Women holding a poster fair in the Barone Campus Center on March 17, which taught about hair culture and gave encouraging messages to inspire confidence. Christine Cupaiuolo, managing editor of the 2011 edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” will give a lecture called, “A Return to Mad Men: The (Presidential) Politics of Gender and Women’s Health” on March 31. Additionally, Performing for Change, a group of Fairfield student performers who use the performing arts to spread positive messages and to change Fairfield for the better, will present their show “What Feminism Looks Like” on March 31.
However, despite these events, students and faculty alike believe that the University should place more of an emphasis on the month.
Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Susan Franzosa said, “Over the years, there have been a lot of advances for women, which is terrific. A lot of people worked very hard for that. Not at Fairfield in particular, but I think that a lot of institutions have gotten very complacent, and they think that all the problems are solved, and I don’t think that’s the case. So I would always support more until things are a lot better.”
Freshman Jillian Moran believes that professors should make students aware of Women’s History Month during March.
“I think they should talk about it in class,” she said, adding that she had not heard about any of the events going on for the month.
Freshman Sarah Greene agreed, commenting, “I think they should put some posters in Barone since everyone goes up there, or maybe some posters in [the Stag] and other obvious places, because sometimes I don’t read all my emails. They send out so many emails and I just sometimes never get around to reading them.”
Senior Michael Pysarchyk also found the lack of publicity disturbing.
“I had no idea [that it was Women’s History Month],” he said. “There should be banners. Something more visual. If they have something visual for like a game or, now that we have the flat screen TVs, they should put that up there.”
Junior Michelle Puthota agreed, saying, “I’m a junior, and I didn’t know anything about it. So maybe I’m just oblivious to things, but I would say no, [the University doesn’t do enough].”
Franzosa had a suggestion to better involve the University community in the month.
“I wish there was more involvement of graduate students,” she commented. “I think it would be good for the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, even though they don’t offer graduate courses, to reach out to graduate students, because most of those students really care about this issue and they care about a lot of social justice issues. They could probably become involved and maybe even help mentor undergraduate students or work with them on activities and programming on campus.”
Associate Professor of Management Catherine Giapponi suggested that there should be more panel discussions, as Fairfield has done in past years.
She commented, “I find it interesting for women of different generations to be able to talk with each other. So I think it would be interesting if they had a panel for women across generations to share their experiences.”
In the end, however, Giapponi said that Women’s History Month is about celebrating the great accomplishments of so many women who have fought for things to be the way they are today.
“We’ve come a long, long way,” she concluded. “There have been a lot of women who have worked really hard to pave the way for [the current] generation, and that is really great.”