The Women’s Coordinating Council at the university is preparing for a successful year with a full calendar of events.
The Women’s Council is a division of the Central Program Council and is dedicated to planning events that will bring awareness to important women’s issues through a feminist perspective.
Will Pratt, a senior in political science, philosophy and women’s studies and chair of the Women’s Council, said he predicts the council will do great things in the upcoming year.
“The Women’s Council is undergoing a renaissance … because of the quality of members, programs and resources we provide to campus that will be improved and expanded this year,” Pratt said. “Also, we’re reaching out to … many campus organizations, academic departments and athletic teams so together we can address pertinent issues and improve the status of all women.”
The events the Women’s Council has planned include documentaries, speakers and discussions. Tonight it will be showing a screening of “Born into Brothels,” a documentary about children of prostitutes in Calcutta, India’s red light district, at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.
The Women’s Council also organizes discussion meetings called “Her Café.” Students hear a speaker and participate in discussion about women’s issues. The next session is scheduled for Sept. 28 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 225 of the UC. The featured speaker will be Wanda Sobieski, a Knoxville lawyer who was an essential player in the creation of the Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Memorial. “Her Café” is free and open to anyone.
Grace Hardwick, a junior in psychology and secretary of the Women’s Council, said the council will also be bringing the Week of the Woman to UT, co-sponsoring with the Panhellenic Council. This event, running from Oct. 16 to Oct. 19, will kick off with a day of appreciation for women. Men will present women around campus with roses and Week of the Woman information cards. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, there will be a “lunch and learn” session to teach self-defense. At 7 p.m. in the UC auditorium, Dr. Susan Campbell will give a lecture called “Truth in Dating.” Wednesday, the council will attend Lip Sync to cheer on its co-sponsors. The Week of the Woman will end Thursday with the Women’s Council’s most important event, Take Back the Night, an organized march to raise awareness for violence against women.
The march will begin in the Humanities Plaza and travel a loop back to the University Center, where participants will listen to speakers and have a chance to participate in a “speak out” to allow any victims of sexual assault or domestic violence to share their experiences.
“I’m excited about how the whole week is going to turn out,” Hardwick said.
Membership in the Women’s Council requires an application and interview process and participation in council-organized events. Council members also volunteer a minimum of 10 hours per semester at the UT Women’s Center, located on the third floor of the UC.
The Women’s Center puts on programs around campus to promote women’s issues and acts as a referral service for anyone needing information or help. The Center also has a full library of research on women’s issues and places for students and faculty to sit and have discussions.
Applications for the Women’s Council and a schedule of events can be found on its Web site, http://web.utk.edu/~wcc/.