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ISSUE 116 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/11/2002

Forum plans educational opportunities for women

By Jane Dudzinski
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 11, 2002

Last week the Senior Women’s Forum held its first organizational meeting of the year in Ytterboe Lounge. Previously known as the Senior Women’s Honor Society, the current faculty are Karen Sawyer, assistant professor of English, and Angela Goehring, coordinator of International Student Services.

According to Sawyer, because they had such a "small pool of busy, overcommitted women" previously involved in the Senior Women’s Honor Society, the name was officially changed from that to the Senior Women’s Forum last year.

The organization plans events that are open to all senior women. These events generally take place every other month.

In the past, the Forum has put together alumni panels in various categories that generally have a "what I wish I had known" focus. These panels serve to help senior women make the transition from college, whether they plan to attend graduate school, work, or pursue other interests.

Currently, Sawyer and Goehring, both St. Olaf alumnae, are planning a "women in graduate school" panel for mid-November.

Other possible topics for panels or informational sessions that are being considered include personal finance, health, car maintenance, insurance and finding an apartment.

There also have been discussions for the creation of a senior women book club, which would possibly be held during Interim.

Some other ideas being exchanged for the Forum concern a mentoring program for younger St. Olaf women and a self-defense or personal safety workshop.

"Women in the Workplace" is another possible event, which could create opportunities for networking with St. Olaf alumni and learning to balance career and relationships.

The Senior Women’s Forum also serves as a "means of honoring senior women," according to Goehring. At the end of each school year the group solicits nominations from peers for various categories such as academics, leadership, church, community service, and athletics.

"There are many kinds of leadership that are not always visible," said Goehring.

In the spring of last year the Senior Women’s Forum held a tea to honor all of the recognized seniors.

Sawyer and Goehring emphasized that these awards were meant to be awarded in addition to those traditional on Honors Day.

The faculty sponsors also stressed the fact that the group has a non-political agenda, and is open to all senior women interested in organizing events for their peers.

"We look forward to input from senior women so that we can schedule events geared to their concerns," Sawyer said.

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