The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Film series engages students, explores women’s issues

A new program this semester will give St. John’s students the opportunity to examine women’s issues through film.

The Office of Leadership Development, located within the Department of Student Life at St. John’s, is offering a film series focused on women’s issues this semester.

The film series is part of the Women in Leadership Certificate Program, which began in June 2006.

Attending one of these films is a required event for those enrolled in the program. Students must also participate in four workshops and partake in one community service activity. According to the St. John’s Web site, the program “prepares women to become actively involved and influential members of the community.

“This program is designed to build leadership skills by providing workshops, seminars and training in critical areas of leadership development,” the site also said.

The idea for the film series came in April 2005 with Project AIM. “We had events to support Asian heritage. ‘The Joy Luck Club’ was shown and over 70 people attended. There was a wonderful discussion afterwards,” Yen said.

After the success of “The Joy Luck Club,” Yen decided that showing other films that promoted cultural diversity and women’s issues might also be of interest to students.

Last semester focused on combining cultural diversity with gender issues. Both “Spanglish” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” were shown during what was called “It’s All About Women Movie Night.” Special emphasis was placed on Latin heritage with the showing of “Spanglish,” while special emphasis was placed on Greek heritage with the showing of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

“After ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ there was a grandmother, mother, and daughter, who [spoke to the audience and] offered an intergenerational view of women,” said Yen.

Students and faculty members agreed that the film series would be beneficial to the University.

“It’s great that they’re celebrating women,” said sophomore Annie Bon. “I’m definitely interested in attending.”
Freshman Dea Tompkins agreed.

“I would go,” she said. “It seems like they’re showing really interesting movies.”

“It’s great that they’re promoting an awareness and interest on women’s issues,” said Michael Burke, an adjunct professor of bioethics. “Students need to have more access to a feminist perspective, especially at St. John’s, a school with such a strong liberal arts tradition.”

The films will be shown in the Donovan Community Room from 6 to 9 p.m., with dinner served afterwards, as well as a discussion from various female panelists focusing on issues raised during the film.

“Mona Lisa Smile” was supposed to be shown on Feb. 14, but it was cancelled because of the inclement weather. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

“Mona Lisa Smile,” focuses on how females interact with other females. “After ‘Mona Lisa Smile,’ sorority sisters will be there to discuss this issue,” said Rosa Yen, the coordinator of the Women in Leadership Program.

“Erin Brokovich,” which focuses on women in the workplace, will be shown in March.

Yen explained that despite its name, the film series is not open only to women.

“There’s a bias that this is only for women, but male students are also welcome,” she said. “We want to increase awareness of gender issues.”

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