Women around campus will join together for the Women’s Circle retreat this Friday at the Campus Ministry McGrath Commons from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. “The purpose of the event is to bring women together on campus to reflect and rejuvenate,” said one of the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons (GSSC) founders Rachel Lang ’14.

Lang along with Lisa Naples’14, and Jocelyn Collen, the Campus Minister for Immersions and Pilgrimages, worked to create a retreat that would allow women to feel inspired and empowered as a community on campus. The event is an opportunity to meet new people and share experiences and feelings that are both similar and unalike, explains Lang.

The women will share their experiences through a variety of options for expression. Some include but are not limited to discussion, art, music, journaling, listening and even silence. This opportunity for expression will hopefully lead to “a feeling of not being alone,” said Brigid Callahan’ 16.

Callahan wants to attend the event because, as a declared “feminist,” it often feels like there is no one who shares the same views as you, explained Callahan. But as Lang stressed, the women who join the circle may have vastly different experiences as females on this campus, but the hope is that the women exalt in their diversity, support and friendship.

Either way, Callahan is excited to be a part of the experience. “I believe sharing in our common womanhood would be a wonderful experience to have together,” said Callahan. She hopes to become closer to her female friends on campus as well as discuss gender stereotypes for both girls and guys. She also hopes to discuss body image because “every girl deserves to feel beautiful,” said Callahan.

The retreat has been helping women feel beautiful, strong and supported for around five to six years, according to Lang.

Every year that she has attended, the retreat has changed her understanding of herself and others. And after every retreat she has felt even more inspired and empowered to overcome challenges and make a difference.

Last year, women did not have this opportunity, because the retreat was cancelled due to lack of student participation. This year the women’s retreat was revamped.

Instead of being an overnight retreat the event will only go until 10:30 p.m. Also the event no longer has a religious aspect but still maintains an emphasis on reflection. The reflection can be interpreted in any way and is not limited to beliefs, interests or topics, Lang explained.

As for this year’s turn out, some students have doubts. As much as Callahan hopes there is a large turnout, she is expecting it to be a small group of women but hopes to be proven wrong. The reason for this expectation is because “a lot of women out there are sometimes daunted by the task of facing these social pressures that seem so beyond us,” said Callahan. But as the saying goes “many hands makes for light work,” she continued.

Callahan even goes so far as challenging the readers of The Mirror to attend and contribute their own unique voice to the circle, and hopefully women will share their voice as well as gain an understanding of themselves in relation to the campus community.

This understanding could change the way women communicate and interact with the Fairfield University community and in turn create more tolerance on campus, said Lang.

Callahan thinks the attendees of the retreat will not only leave feeling renewed but will have a greater arsenal of thought to support women’s issues.

The event is a call to all who identify as women or allies to enjoy dinner, dessert and discussion while unhinging the potential of a strong women’s group on campus.

Those interested can RSVP by emailing lisa.naples@student.fairfield.edu. For more information on the event and other opportunities, email gss.fairfield@gmail.com.

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