Women’s History Month highlights the contributions of women in history and contemporary society. In 1911, it started with a day, expanded to a week in 1980, and finally became a month of celebration worldwide in 1988.
Ever since, the celebration acknowledges women contributing in all areas of life, including on college campuses. This year’s event focuses on “Valiant Women of the Vote,” celebrating women active in the suffrage movement, who fought against literacy tests, poll taxes, and other voter-discouragement tactics.
At Jacksonville University, March marks a time of discussion and appreciation across campus. In weekly “Coffee and Conversations,” faculty lead discussions about issues affecting women in today’s world and an admiration station in the Kinne Center allows anyone to write personal letters of appreciation to the women in their lives.
“Personally, the programming has allowed for a platform for me to share my experiences as a Black woman and member of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Assistant Dean of Students DaVina Hamilton, who is a member of the Women’s History Month Programming Committee and the 2017 JU Woman of the Year. “I had the opportunity to host a conversation in a safe space that allowed for an informative dialogue between faculty, staff and students. Having these conversations helps to contribute to what we hope will be a more understanding campus culture. I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate and support this initiative.”
Last year, writers sent over 500 notes of admiration to women across campus, and the goal is to see more. More admiration, more inspiration, and certainly more celebration across our community, committee members say.
“It is easy to recognize large contributions of women on JU’s campus, but there are so many small and personal ways that each of us are impacted by others on campus,” says Marketing and Communications Department Operations Director Alix Robinson, who is a member of the Women’s History Month Organizing Committee. “As a committee, we wanted a way to lift up women, honor them and make them see their value to others. The idea of this personal connection led to the idea of the admiration station.”
When the month draws to a close, Jacksonville University announces its three Women of The Year:
- The Frances Bartlett Kinne Woman Student of the Year, honoring an undergraduate
- The JU Graduate Woman of the Year
- The JU Woman of the Year, honoring a faculty or staff member.
Anyone may use the following forms to nominate candidates for the honors:
After the nominations are collected, nominees for the Frances Bartlett Kinne Woman Student of the Year are asked to fill out additional information and produce a short essay or video relating to the current year’s theme. A selection committee comprised of women from each of the four colleges and administration review all the nominees and make a selection in each category.
All student nominees are invited to a Women’s Leadership Dinner honoring them in early March. On March 31, all nominees and their guests are invited to a President’s reception honoring their nomination. JU’s final celebration of Women’s History Month is a musical program honoring women writers and composers, during which the three Women of the Year are announced.
A complete schedule of events is available on the Women’s History Month webpage.
By Kamia Addison