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Pulitzer Prize winner to speak at fundraiser

“It’s a myth to say that Women’s Studies is only about women,” said Prof. Jeannette Riley, the Director of the Women’s Studies Program. “It’s a collaborative field...focused on creating positive social change for both men and women.”

This is one of the reasons that Riley is excited to have Susan Faludi, a writer whose work examines the gender-related challenges of both men and women, on campus.

Susan Faludi is a best-selling author, a prominent feminist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and the keynote speaker at the Women’s Studies Program and Women’s Resource Center’s 4th Annual Fundraiser.

Taking place in the Woodland Commons on March 29, the event includes a reception, dinner, and a speech by Faludi titled “Why Haven’t Women Remade the World Yet?”

The money raised from the ticket sales goes to an endowment fund that provides scholarships to Women’s Studies majors, and will eventually allow for the establishment of an annual speaker series.

“It’s vitally important to support students earning their degrees,” Riley said. “[And] a speaker series brings interesting ideas and conversations to campus. It’s part of the educational experience outside the classroom that we should be doing more on campus.”

The annual fundraiser is co-sponsored by The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, as it has been for the past three years.

“We love collaborating with them,” said Riley. “It’s great to have the Women’s Fund energy and commitment to improving the lives of girls and women as part of the event.”

Although taking place in a frequent venue of student after-parties and socials, the fundraiser is decidedly formal. Guests’ dinner options include filet mignon, baked stuffed shrimp, and butternut squash ravioli; tickets cost $100 a piece; and Chancellor MacCormack will be hosting the event.

Though there is a discount in the ticket price for students, Riley noted that most students’ tickets are paid for by faculty members attending the fundraiser.

“There’s really great community support for the students with this event,” she said. “Some have commented to me that the event is one of the most enjoyable UMass Dartmouth events they attend all year given our sense of community and how we are focused on students.”

In addition to students, the fundraiser also attracts many alumni, who are welcomed as potential career connections and mentors for current Women’s Studies majors.

“We focus on trying to keep alumni engaged in our program and connected to UMass Dartmouth,” said Riley. “I am hopeful our Women’s Studies alumni will support the WMS majors and minors that come after them—pay it backwards so to speak.”

Each year the fundraiser has been a great success, with large turnouts and engaging speakers such as Gloria Steinem and former U.S. Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. As a result, several students look forward to attending the event this year.

“I'm looking forward to seeing Susan Faludi in person after reading her work and admiring her ideas for so long,” said senior Women’s Studies major Katrina Semich. “It will symbolize to me that one person really can make a positive difference through her words.”

Semich also added that she will be “honored to have the opportunity to attend an event that will not only provide more opportunities to women on campus but also represent the culmination of many women's efforts to improve a program that will help future students.”

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