Women’s Collective Addresses Sexuality – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Women’s Collective Addresses Sexuality

Speakers from across the country will join the HWS community to address a multitude of issues and concepts relating to sexuality – the theme of this year’s annual Women’s Collective conference held on Saturday, March 26. The conference, which seeks to provide students with different understandings of human sexuality, will feature keynote speaker Samhita Mukhopadhyay, the executive editor of Feministing.com, an online community for feminists and their allies. The day-long event will also allow students an opportunity to participate in workshops created by faculty, students and alums.

“When the Collective met and thought of possible topics, sexuality came to mind considering the recent LGBT suicides,” says co-chair of Women’s Collective Josephina Ragon ’11. “Like previous annual Women’s Collective events such as Take Back the Night and the Vagina Monologues, this year’s conference is going to be amazing. We have speakers coming to Geneva from across the United States, and we hope to have great attendance.”

Following the presentation by Mukhopadhyay at 11:30 a.m. in the Sanford Room, the afternoon will be filled with workshops on sexuality. This year’s sessions include presentations by recent graduates Morgan Hopkins ’10, Amy Nadel ’09 and Katie Taylor ’09 – all of whom served as members of the Women’s Collective – as well as workshops led by HWS faculty. Assistant Professor of Philosophy Karen Frost-Arnold is slated to speak on sex-trafficking and prostitution activism, and Associate Dean of Hobart and Assistant Professor of History Chip Capraro and Professor of Sociology Jack Harris, who have co-taught courses for men’s studies, will lead a discussion on, “The Paradox of Men’s Power.”

Other workshop leaders include Kyla Bender-Baird, the research and programs manager for the National Council for Research on Women, who will present, “Trans Inclusion and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) Debate”; Ronna Tulgan Ostheimer ’82, P ’14, the head of education at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, who will discuss what it is like to be a woman in society today; Rebecca Otis, a doctoral candidate at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, whose workshop will discuss how women can act as agents of change;  and Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the executive director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation and acclaimed author, who will address, “The Indigenous Influence on Birth in the United States.”

In her senior year, Ragon, who is one of many helping to organize the event, hopes to inspire her classmates and give back all she has received from the Women’s Collective.  “This conference is very special to me because it will be the last that I will organize,” explains Ragon. “Women’s Collective has provided me with so many tools for leadership and planning, and has equipped me with the ability to spread awareness about my passion.”

Events kick-off with a sustainable lunch in the Sanford Room at 11 a.m. and continue with workshops in Stern Hall throughout the day. The conference will close with a dinner in the Faculty Dining Room at 6:30 p.m. Please contact josephina.ragon@hws.edu with any questions.