In the Women’s Studies (WMST) senior seminar this spring, students created a web page, FEM*NET, a website run entirely by students that gives alumnae, alumni, students (from HWS and elsewhere) and feminists a space to reflect and interact critically about important themes that surround women in the world.
The blog-style site, which describes itself as “a space is for feminists to engage with one another,” features essays, personal reflections from William Smith alumnae, an on-going message board-style conversation about feminist media, and a feminist archival history of William Smith College.
“The hope is for students to feel more connected to alums, to broaden the picture of what WMST alums do, and to connect students from different women’s studies and gender programs outside of HWS,” says Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer, who notes that in this last regard, the site resembles the practice early in William Smith Colleges’ history of exchanging journals with other women’s colleges (then mainly the Seven Sisters).
In the course, students began by examining “the idea of space throughout campus and how space has effected us,” says Sara Elkerm ’16. “We looked primarily at how the different spaces contain a purpose for us and other students.”
To that end, the class created a survey regarding student perception of public space, which led to a reflection on the connections between that space, feminist activism and personal activism. It also led to the idea of a public intellectual space such as a web site.
“As we looked back we took to the Internet as a positive forum to connect with other WMST alumni to develop a sight that represents all we have learned, experience and activism we have done within ourselves and community,” Elkerm says.
The students who curate the site post their own content and invite alums to submit as well. In the fall 2016 semester, students in the “Feminist Theory” course students will run the site, with next year’s senior seminar taking over in the spring of 2017.
Visit the FEM*NET site at https://wslegacy.wordpress.com/.