AAUW’s League of Extraordinary Women

Women standing in a line dressed as pilots.

OSU student organization officers dressed as pilots for their student organization’s fashion show. Left to right: Nyra Muse, social media and PR; Emily Tennison, business student council representative; Paige Cross, social chair; Katlyn Ford, vice president; Lindsey Goedecke, president; Amber Branyan, treasurer; Rebekah Gary, secretary.

April 19, 2013

Making a change to improve the lives of women may seem like hard work, but the members and advisers of our 12 AAUW student organizations make it look almost easy. Whether they’re hosting an International Women’s Day fashion show, collaborating with local branches to host educational programs, or running an Elect Her or $tart $mart workshop at their college, these young people take steps toward gender equity every day.

For the students at the University of Buffalo, the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) served as an inspiration. “After that empowering opportunity, we were determined to bring back that enthusiasm to our campus because women’s rights issues are vital topics to address,” said the group’s president, Samah Asfour.

The University of Buffalo students recently volunteered at AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch’s Tech Savvy, a daylong career conference that interests and educates young girls and their parents in potential math and science careers. “I’m so glad we decided to volunteer because it was so satisfying to see these young girls interested in the STEM subjects,” said Asfour. “I believe it is safe to say that the little girls encouraged us that Saturday!”

The AAUW student organization at Oklahoma State University (OSU) proved their fundraising skills with their second annual philanthropic event,  A Journey around the World for Military and Women.  The team held a fashion show, a talent show, and silent and live auctions. Three hundred people attended and models included retired Gen. Rita Aragon, current Oklahoma secretary of Military and Veteran’s Affairs.

Jeretta Horn Nord, the OSU group’s adviser, was extremely pleased with the outcome, and noted how happy the attendees were with the program. “As a professional woman who has enjoyed some degree of success, I wanted to give back by serving as a role model and mentor for other women.  I hope to help our members believe in themselves and educate and empower them through our speakers and activities. Empowering women is powerful!” said Nord.

Blackboard with the words “Why Do You Need Feminism?”

NSU’s student exhibit features reasons why we need feminism. Photo credit: Peter Henshaw, Northeastern State University.

Molly Turner, the founder of Northeastern State University (NSU), Tahlequa’s AAUW student organization, said that she came to NSU as a transfer student and knew right away that she wanted to start a group. “I’ve always been involved in AAUW. My mother has been an active member for over 10 years now; after going to NCCWSL I decided I wanted to make a change and meet people who shared my interests on campus,” she said.

Turner, who is graduating next year, is proud of the legacy she has started. “I always knew women’s issues were going to be a part of what I wanted to do. … We’ve had some very successful programming and a great number of interested participants.”

Not only valuable resources on women’s rights for their campuses, these women are also recognized for their positive leadership roles.

Tina Nelson, president of the University of Michigan, Dearborn’s AAUW organization, just received a Student Legacy Leadership Award.

Senior and AAUW OSU president Lindsey Goedecke said that participating in a student organization has opened up connections and allowed her to meet and network with many women professionals.

“We’ve had a huge number of women guest speakers come in, especially executives, who have made us feel more comfortable in our own skin when speaking or presenting,” said Goedecke. “I know that after I graduate I want to volunteer at an AAUW branch or help out on the national level. … I just can’t imagine not fighting for women’s rights.”

If you are interested in starting a student organization on your campus, check out our Forming AAUW Student Organizations Program in a Box or email coll-univ@aauw.org.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Intern Samantha Lambert.

By:   |   April 19, 2013