As 2017 marked the year that more than five million people worldwide participated in the Women’s March and countless women spoke out in courage as part of the #MeTooMovement, a group of 15 female students at Lipscomb University are hoping 2018 will be another year of boldness for society to encourage, celebrate and empower one another.
That’s why these students, all of whom come from various backgrounds, student organizations, social clubs and majors, have created the inaugural Women Empowerment Week, March 5-9.
Inspired by the nation’s International Women’s Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women each year on March 8, Women Empowerment Week will feature an array of events to empower and educate Lipscomb students and the Greater Nashville community on issues such as human trafficking, immigration, the civil rights movement from a women’s perspective and how to prosper in the workplace.
“Our theme for Women Empowerment Week is #PressforProgress, which is also the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day,” said junior health sciences major Sena Seged. “As women we recognize that in order to grow and press for progress, we need to empower one another and be a positive force for change. These events are not exclusive to the Lipscomb community, or women for that matter, and we hope that local students from Belmont, Vanderbilt, MTSU, Trevecca and Tennessee State Universities will join us to celebrate Women Empowerment Week as well.”
Sponsored by Lipscomb’s Student Government Association as well as various on-and-off-campus partners, Women Empowerment Week is free and open to the public. Throughout the course of the week, women are asked to collect toiletry items to support the women of the Tennessee Prison for Women and place them in bins which will be located at each WEW event and in the lobbys of female residence halls.
“A lot of the student coordinators have been personally impacted by Lipscomb’s LIFE program, where traditional students get to take classes with “inside” students at the Tennessee Prison for Women, and the strength we have seen in the women there,” said Leslie Garcia, a junior psychology major. “So, throughout the week, we will have collection bins at each event as well as in student dorms so students and WEW participants can support the women at TPW by bringing in various toiletry products.”
- Monday, March 5 at 7 a.m. in the Ezell Chapel – A Daca DREAMER Morning of Prayer event will kick-off Women’s Empowerment week with participants will pray for Lipscomb’s 36 Daca recipients and the other individuals effected by the DREAMER legislation expected to pass on that day. Sponsored by Lipscomb’s Campus Ministry Office and coordinated by junior molecular biology major Juli Fontecha, a panel discussion will be held for DACA students to share their personal stories. Donuts and coffee will also be provided.Monday, March 5 at 5 p.m. in Ezell Chapel – Gabrielle Thompson from Free for Life International will share how she has been fighting human trafficking. Coordinated by Seged and sponsored by Student Life and the Department of Social Work, light refreshments will be served at 5 p.m. with the program beginning at 5:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30-9 a.m. in Johnson Hall Lobby – Lipscomb’s Campus Ministry Office will host a Proverbs 31 devotional breakfast where female Lipscomb students will learn what it means to live like a Proverbs 31 woman. Coordinated by senior theology major Lisa Moser, women can enjoy free bagels and donuts during the event.
- Tuesday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m. in Stowe Hall – the Diverse Student Coalition and sophomore biology major Kathleen Quirora will host a screening of the documentary Beyoncé: Life is but a Dream in Stowe Hall, which is located in Swang Business Center, room 108.
“Beyoncé is the definition of empowerment, so we are excited to present this documentary,” said Seged.
- Wednesday, March 7 from 6-8 p.m. in Ezell Chapel – The community is encouraged to attend the Lydia Conference, a women’s career empowerment conference centered on connecting women’s careers to their spiritual journeys from 6-8 p.m. in Ezell Chapel.
Born out of a dream from senior international affairs major Carrie Cowart who desired to bring women together into conversation and fellowship, the Lydia Conference will feature successful businesswomen including 5 by 5 Agency’s Shannon Litton; founder and CEO of the Cupcake Collection Mignon Francios; senior vice president of customer solutions at Asurion Insurance; academic director of Lipscomb’s Institute of Conflict Management Phyllis Hildreth; and Deborah Beyer M.D., internal medicine and pediatrics at St. Thomas Medical Group; in a panel discussion. Suzanne Sager, assistant dean for professional development and engagement in Lipscomb’s College of Business will moderate this discussion. Sponsored by Lipscomb’s COB and Baker Donelson, the event is free and open to the public. Register here to participate in the Lydia Conference.
“I came up with this idea my senior year of high school and put it in the back of my mind because I didn’t think I was much of a leader at that point,” said Cowart. “I eventually got to the point of realizing that if I don’t start this myself, it may never happen. So I contacted Lipscomb’s College of Business to help me do so.
“I’ve had the privilege of seeing women who are successful and powerful in their business professions but are also such humble servants of God at the same time. I really aspire to be like that one day, and I think it is important to provide a community platform for women to be empowered by other women. We are very excited to make this dream a reality for Women Empowerment Week.”
- Thursday, March 8 from 10:55-11:30 a.m. in Shamblin Theatre – The Office of Intercultural Development presents a special Multicultural Awareness, Skills and Knowledge (M.A.S.K.) chapel titled “Who’s My Mother?” in Shamblin Theatre, located in the Bennett Campus Center.
During the chapel, which will be led by junior psychology major Jackie Hererra, a panel of three Lipscomb students and their mothers, will share their stories on how they came to America from El Salvador, Ethiopia and Kurdistan and the difficulties they faced in the process.
- Thursday, March 8 at 6 p.m. – Community members will have the opportunity to participate in a service project in the Highland Apartment Complex, which is located on Nolensville Road.
Each Saturday, a group of students from Lipscomb’s Diverse Student Coalition spend a few hours reading and spending time with kids who have fled from their native countries and have resettled in Nashville as refugees. In honor of International Women’s Day, the DSC and senior strategic communication major Summer Stevens will offer the community an opportunity to connect with and invest in the mothers of these children. If you would like to serve or would like additional details about this service project, please contact Stevens at email@example.com.
- Friday, March 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Ezell Chapel – Women Empowerment Week will end with lunch and learn featuring civil rights activist Frankie Henry in Ezell Chapel.
Presented by the Fred D. Gray Institute of Law, Justice & Society at Lipscomb and the Lipscomb’s Honors College and coordinated by Garcia, Henry will share about her participation in the Nashville sit-ins in the 1960s, and her arrest as a result.
Additional Lipscomb sponsors include the Diverse Student Coalition, the Black Student Union, Department of social work, Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society, the LIFE program, the Office of Intercultural Development and the Honors College. Off-campus sponsors include Donut Den, She Reads Truth and Tazikis in Green Hills.
International Women's Day has been observed since the early 1900s–a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women's Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.
Want to learn more about Women Empowerment Week at Lipscomb? Contact Sena Seged at firstname.lastname@example.org.