Multiple Events Planned to Mark Women’s History Month

Daniella Amendola, Editor-in-Chief

A symposium  of faculty and students’ creative works is the center of multiple events and festivities as Women’s History Month events unfold.

“It is a showcase of student, staff and faculty work on women,” said Rebecca Steinberger, Professor of English, “and it’s going to give a diverse perspective. So, for example, in the contemporary theater class one of the groups will do a little verbatim theater skit that they wrote, and it has to do with women.”

In addition, Steinberger said a reference librarian will present her research about women’s issues, and students’ papers are on the schedule.

Steinberger’s hopes these pieces and presentations will open a dialogue as they highlight the work.

“[It is] on the topic of women, which as you know is one of the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy,” said Steinberger.

Submissions vary from critical papers, to creative projects such as plays, but all mediums are welcome.

“I’m also hoping there will be some artwork involved,” Steinberger said. “I know of one student in particular who created wonderful art in conjunction with a Shakespeare project.”

The symposium will enable participants to provide a talk or read their work.

“We’ll have space for people to perform, or to do a staged reading, and then if we do have artwork to portray we’ll have easels set up. That’s the idea, so we can prop up artwork on the easels and have people walk around and talk to the artists.”

This is the first time  a Women’s History Month symposium is held, but it’s not the first time the university will celebrate the month.

“We’ve been doing programming for Women’s History Month since at least back into 2010, so nine years. Our sale of T-shirts and stickers will start soon, and we have a new design this year. So people can have two if they have the ones from last year. The iconic Rosie the Riveter-esque is beautiful, but we wanted something with more diversity in it.”

Mass Communications and Design professor Rachel Urbanowicz designed the new poster.

Steinberger said no one can predict the totality of the creative work.

“With regard to looking at work by students, I’m especially interested in that, because we want to tap into the sensibilities of students and what they have to bring to the table is actually the thing that excites me the most.”

Juliana Cofrancesco, a junior English and secondary education major, has submitted two pieces to the symposium.

“[Other students] and I have a verbatim theater paper— well it’s a play, and it deals with the Grammys and how we’ve had an influx in women winners compared to last year. It might not be that women didn’t do as well last year; it’s more of the fact that we’re actually giving a chance to other people to win these categories so it’s less biased.”

Cofrancesco’s second piece is also a play, though it’s a bit different from her verbatim theater project.

“I wrote a play last year, and it’s a contemporary version of “Astrophil and Stella,” and it discusses the dangers of stalking and sexual assault,” said Cofrancesco. “Yes, two plays. One verbatim theater, and one that I made up from Astrophil and Stella.”

The verbatim theater play will be performed at the symposium, though Cofrancesco’s isn’t sure how she will present her second play.

“I can read it,” said Cofrancesco. “I would like to see if I could have two other people be the other characters to perform it with me, to make it a little more life-like.”

Cofrancesco is motivated to present her work.

“I love talking to other people and just sharing ideas and hearing other people’s ideas, so it will be a wonderful time.”

Cofrancesco believes that people will respond positively to the symposium and its offerings.

“I think any form of education and getting new information is really important,” said Cofrancesco. “Our school is 60-40, women to men, so you know, and even the men here on campus would agree that it’s a very important month.

The Women’s History Month symposium is set for March 13 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library. Other events include a  film showing and lecture about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on March 13 at 7 p.m., also in the library; a poetry reading at 12 p.m. March 15 in the Mercy Hall Founder’s Room, CTE room and PCN room; a public forum on gender equality March 20 at 5 p.m. in Insalaco Hall rooms 218-219; and Eight Women Who Changed the World, a faculty presentation March 25 at 7 p.m. in the Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library.