Thursday, November 17, 2011

The New England Women's Centers Conference: An Energizing Gathering

Badges ready for check in! Waiting for attendees to register

On November 4 and 5 Lesley University hosted the New England Women’s Centers Conference (NEWCC2011). This was the second conference of its kind. The first one, hosted by Harvard University was a productive and energetic venue to explore issues shared by Women’s Centers, and brainstorm about ideas and solutions for existing and future programming and collaborations.

Administrators, faculty, and students from twenty institutions from the New England region were represented this year. The programming of the conference centered around issues unique to the needs of individual centers, but also touched on wider issues outside the centers, such as community-based collaborations, sexual assault, mentoring and contemporary feminism.

Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley addresses attendees

The Co-Director of the Women’s Center, Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley, welcomed the group and reiterated the importance of learning from each other and the exciting opportunity to share in the collective knowledge from all of the centers represented.

Dinner at the Atrium was a nice time to mingle after the first session.

Lesley Women's Center Co-Director Daphne Strassmann checks in with staff during dinner.

The first session took place Friday afternoon and was presented by Naomi Mann and Amy Hunter, two attorneys from the Office for Civil Rights, who went through guidelines addressed in Title IX and how these protections apply to instances of sexual assault. After dinner attendees were treated to a screening of initial cut from the documentary, Left on Pearl. After the screening five members of the film project, which included Lesley’s Eleanor Roffman, Professor and Director of Field Training, Division of Counseling and Psychology addressed questions from the audience. Professor Roffman was interviewed on the documentary about the 1971 takeover of a Harvard University building on 888 Memorial Drive to be the site for a community Women’s Center. This is the same center which stands today on Pleasant St. in Cambridge, and is home to crucial programming for the empowerment of women. The Director of the Cambridge Women's Center Ming Chang, a Lesley alumna, also help lead a discussion about collaborations between community based centers and university- based centers. In celebrating the 4oth year of the takeover of the Harvard building, the panelists brought a piece of important history to life in the documentary, and spoke candidly about what it meant to be a woman during such gender- segregated times.

The first session the following morning was a round table discussion in which all centers describe individual best practices and challenges. This proved to be one of the most helpful aspects of the conference last year. Attendees got a good sense of the wide range of services different centers offer, how each center is structured staffing and funding wise, and how they exist in connection to departments within each institution. The centers also brought along promotional materials to share and exchange, which were available throughout the conference to all participants.

As the conference progressed, attendees immersed themselves in session topics such as: How to work with small budgets ways in which to assess the effectiveness of funded programs, Mentoring models, How to address inclusion of gender in Women’s Centers, and how to collaborate with Community Women’s Centers. Lesley’s Marianne Galvin led the group in a thoughtful and helpful session on how to apply for grants in a session titled: Grant Writing workshop: Proposal Writing Made Easy.

Lesley's Marianne Galvin talked to the group about effective ways in which to write grants.

Discussing the role of Gender in Women's Centers. Nino Testa, a graduate student from Tufts University led the session.

One of the most popular parts of the conference was the plenary in which students are the Keynote Speakers. Lesley’s Professor Arlene Dallalfar, introduced the plenary and Lesley students engaged the audience in a show and tell trivia game of guessing feminist iconic images.

The keynote speakers were asked to respond to the topic of Contemporary Feminism based on a TED talk given by blogger and activist Courtney Martin, titled Reinventing Feminism. In her introduction, Professor Dallalfar spoke about the waves of feminism and drew connections to the Third Wave generation students who were in the audience and those presenting. Students from Harvard University, Lesley University and Tufts University gave thoughtful engaging talks about Race and feminism, Humor in Feminism.

Rachael Cina talking discusses the production of the Vagina Monologues.

Lesley’s Sophomore Rachael Cina recounted her experiences in putting together a sold-out production of the Vagina Monologues last February at the Marran Theater.

At the concluding session of the conference participants expressed gratitude to Lesley for hosting and providing another opportunity to go back energized and filled with ideas to implement in their respective centers.

The new buttons for Lesley Women's Center read: "Celebrate Equality- Live Diversity."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crooked Beauty A beautiful Documentary at the Marran

Women's Center Health & Gender Series Fall 2011

On November 7th at 7pm The Women's Center will be co-sponsoring the documentary Crooked Beauty. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to see the film followed Q&A with the Director.

Crooked Beauty is a poetic documentary that chronicles artist-activist Jacks McNamara's transformative journey from childhood abuse to psych ward inpatient to pioneering mental health advocacy. It is an intimate portrait of her intense personal quest to live with courage and dignity, and a powerful critique of standard psychiatric treatments. Poignant testimonials connect the fissures and fault lines of human nature to the unstable topography and mercurial weather patterns of the San Francisco Bay Area. Crooked Beauty reshapes mental health stigmas through a new healing culture and political model for living with madness as a tool of creativity, inspiration and hope.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hearthrob Feminist Messages

A+ your next Feminist Theory class. Take these flashcards to the library, or ease into a Starbucks with your latte (but not for too long) while you commit these to memory.

Thanks to Jezebel for pointing us to: Feminist Ryan Gossling.

P.S. You had me at Farmer's Market.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Boston and Slutwalk

Check out the video of the march started to protest and incident in Toronto, where a policeman warned rape victims to not dress "like a slut." Here's the organizations website.

By Daphne Strassmann

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Congratulations to Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley and Alice Diamond

Our wonderful Co-Director and Committee member are the recipients of the AAUW (American Association of University Women). Click here to read full article

By: Daphne Strassmann


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wet Easter for girls and Women in Hungary


On Easter Monday boys and men visit their women relatives, friends, neighbors, often even if they are not close friends. They usually go in small groups and are "armed" with soda-water siphon and cologne water. The "tour" usually starts early in the morning and lasts all day long. They great girls and women with shorter funny and sometimes a bit blue poems then sprinkle the women. The women must be well-prepared, they treat men with dessert and beverages - and with hand-painted eggs.

At the end of the day women usually wear a dozen of different colognes and sometimes the men have the sun in their eyes from the many cups of beverages.

Thanks to Steve Strassmann for the story tip.

Source: A native Hungarian via email


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our First-Ever Student Art Exhibit

We all know that one of the most crucial ways to be a successful artist is to show ones work. The Women's Center show recently presented “Women’s Center Show for Equality,” where artists of all genders were able to submit work for the exhibit. No work was turned down because the goal of the show was to provide every artist a chance to showcase their art. We received and hung over thirty wonderful examples of graphic work, photography, collage, acrylic, oil and pastels, from Freshmen to Senior students at AIB (Art Institute of Boston). The show was up for a month, but we started with a fun opening with refreshments.

By Jennifer Sherys-Rivet

We feel it is important to provide a space for artists to showcase their work. The event was quite successful. Interested in showing your work in the women’s center? Contact us at!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rally to Protect Funding for Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Rally in the Boston Commons

This event was inspiring to say the least. Jen and I started thinking no one was going to show up from Lesley and the next thing we knew we left for the Commons with a solid group including one guy!

When we arrived there were people swarming with posters, stickers, and free t-shirts that lit up the area with pink spirit. We were told to move to the front and thanks to Rachel (from vagina monologues) we had enough posters to go around and represent how abortion should stay legal.

The rally started and various governors, senators, and planned parenthood representatives spoke their words with gratitude for the mass amounts of people who actively responded. There were several counter-protestors which the majority made sure to silence continuously. The Lesley Women’s Center was a part of something larger than us that day and it will show when the government keeps title 10.

Despite the awesome t-shirts, we got to leave with positive feelings that if we need to come together to defend an issue, it is possible. I would encourage events like this to be openly informed at our school so the students and faculty are aware of the Center’s message.

By Jennifer Bucolo

Planned Parenthood is a national organization dedicated to providing medical care, contraceptives and emergency contraceptives, pregnancy testing and consultation, and accesses to abortions to citizens in our nation, regardless of socioeconomic placement. Planned Parenthood provides alternatives to individuals that do not necessarily have access to these services otherwise. Recent cuts in the Massachusetts budget, were going to take out almost all of the Planned Parenthood funding, making it so these services could not be provided any longer. In support of Planned Parenthood and its accesses to government funding, the Lesley University Women’s center gathered a group together to attend the rally and show their support. The rally was in Boston Commons on Saturday March 19th Click here are some photos from the event:

Here is some video showing some of Lesley students participating in the rally:

By: Jennifer Sherys-Rivet

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Killing us Softly- Screening for Movie Night.

Recently we had a movie night at the Women’s Center where we showed the movie by Jean Kilbourne, explores femininity in the media and the destructive deceptive ideas handed to viewers. After the showing, we sat down as a group and discussed what we thought, any feelings the movie gave us and about current issues we feel are serious in the distorted world of the media and body image.

By Jennifer Sherys-Rivets

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to buy tickets for the Vagina Monologues

Don't forget: Friday 11 and Saturday 12, will be the performance for the Vagina Monologues.

Here's how to buy tickets:

1. Meal times at White Hall. We have a table set-up!
2. At the Women's Center at White Hall during open hours.
3. At the door. Come up to 15 minutes before!

See you then.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To Ponder...

Here these are folks. We get all sorts of questions for this event, but we still want to consider them and will do our best to answer what we can:

Sex Questions

1. How do you apply a condom with your mouth?

2. What is lesbian sex? Seriously.

3. How can I make oral sex less painful on my jaw?

4. How can I convince him to try bondage?

5. How do you make a girl orgasm?

6. Best position ever?

7. What happens if a girl takes Viagra?

8. Does making out with another girl make me a cheater?

9. What are your opinions on Sarah Palin knowing she is against sex education and anything that empowers women?

10. Which is better: water based lube or silicon lube?

11. How do I practice safe sex without getting a UTI the next day?

12. What specifically constitutes lesbian sex?

13. What is this “sex”?

14. What causes morning wood?

15. What is bag piping?

16. Is it true if you don’t use it, you lose it?

17. How does girl on girl work?

18. What are the most preferable holes used for triple and quadruple penetration?

19. How long does sex normally last?

20. He’s too big, what do I do?

21. Can you have sex in the ear? No.

22. Which is better lube or lotion?

23. How do you do sex? What happens if you sex? Baby

24. What parts of the body do you use during sex?

25. How many professors have sex with their students? In the rear?

26. Who is this “sex”? Your mom.

27. I heard Nigel’s cock is 2ft. long? Is that correct?

28. Why do gay men keep asking to touch my breasts?

29. What is a penis?

30. How do you use a condom?

31. Why am I alone?

32. Where’s the shipment of hot foreign men?

33. Does it hurt?

34. Favorite sex song?

35. Health services- How does it work? What goes where? HELP ME!!!

36. Do all guys get boners (“morning wood”) every morning

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Return of the Faculty & Staff Writing Group

Come on back!
The Lesley faculty and staff writing group is a great time and place to get your work done. Come to a quiet and supportive environment to tackle projects which need your dedicated time. Mark your calendars for Words and Images a workshop by Cassandra Goldwater, MFA on March 3rd.

Don't forget:

We meet every Thursday from 12:30pm to 2pm at the Women's Center in White Hall. We have tea and cocoa, so what could be better?

By Daphne Strassmann

Friday, February 4, 2011

Are you bi-racial or multi-racial?

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Counseling Center is pleased to be offering a group for students who
identify as bi-racial or multi-racial. The group will be led by one of
our interns, Daphne Nayar, a bi-racial graduate student from the Smith
College School for Social Work. The group will be held for three
consecutive weeks, starting in February, at a mutually convenient time
for the students. A flyer for the group is attached with the contact
information. Daphne will be contacting the students who are interested
to provide more information. The group will be held in the conference
room on the third floor of Doble Hall on the Doble campus in Cambridge.
The goal of the group is to create a safe space for the members to
explore issues of identity. The group is open to both undergraduate and
graduate students.

We would be most appreciative if you would communicate this to any
potentially interested students, by posting or distributing the flyer
or talking to students and other colleagues for whom it would be relevant.
If you have any questions, please contact me at 617-349-8547 or Daphne
at the main number for the center 617-349-8545.

Thank you in advance for your efforts to spread the word.

Cynthia Jirak LICSW
Associate Director
Lesley University Counseling Center

Check out the flyer and look for it around campus

By: Daphne Strassmann

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Health and Gender Series Spring 2011

Yes it is quite dreary outside, but we're getting ready here at he Women's Center for a great lineup in our Health and Gender series. Keep an eye out for information around campus for these events:

Love yourself and others Week- Valentines is all about candy for you and those around you. Come by the Women's Center weekly coffee house for some serious affirmation of love (and hot cocoa with marshmallows too)!

Coffee House
Monday February 7th at 5pm
Women's Center- White Hall

Let's Talk about Sex is back!

Have any questions rattling around in your mind about sex? Then post your questions on FB, twitter them or write them down, anonymously, at one of our question stations. No question is off limits. The purpose of this event is to have questions answered from a set of different perspectives by those in the know. Last year's event was respectful, fun and most of all informative. All genders are welcome. This is a unique opportunity. We promise to get to your questions in writing, post the answers on our blog or FB if you don't want to come in.
As always, treats, condoms and other goodies will be available to bring home.

Question Stations:
Women's Center (during and after-hours)
Student Center main desk

February 10th at 6:30 pm. More details on location later.

The Vagina Monologues-

at the Marran Theater
February 11&12 at 8pm
All proceeds benefit the Rape Crisis Center

Finish off the week with some serious ice-skating and cupcake festivities!
Check out what we're doing with alumni relations.

Be Our Valentine!

Join Lesley University Alumni, Students, Faculty and Friends for a Valentine's Day skate on the historic Boston Common Frog Pond! There's nothing quite like soaring across the ice amid the bright lights of Boston in the nation's oldest public park.

3:30 pm State House Reception
Nurse's Hall
5:30 pm Skating on Frog Pond

This is a great optant to spend a beautiful evening with your Friends and Family. There will be a pre-reception at the State House Nurse's Hall from 3:30-5:30 pm where light refreshments will be served.

RSVP by February 4th by calling 617.349.8625 or click the link above to register.

MBTA Red or Green line to Park Street, or use the Boston Common Parking Garage which is located at 1 Charles Street, Boston, MA.

Vagina Monologues

We're delighted to be sponsoring the Vagina Monologues this year, as part of our Health & Gender series for Spring. Rachael Cina has done an outstanding job getting the production together. Mark your calendars! You can come by to the Women's Center to get your tickets. Look out for tables in White Hall as well. Rachael and her crew will be telling you about the performance and selling tickets.

By: Daphne Strassmann