Flames of the Torch

Last month, the University saw a series of events in honor of Black History Month, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner and a lecture by African poet, Theresa Kwofi.

These events were promoted by the University and attracted the attention of both students and faculty members. Few, if any, did not know the significance of last month.

But does anyone know what this month commemorates? No, it’s not March Madness.

Since 1987, the month of March has been nationally recognized as Women’s History Month. There are many activities planned to commemorate this occasion, but unfortunately, not a lot of students know anything about the events or the importance of the month, for that matter.

Although St. John’s has put together a host of events to honor women’s heritage, it has done a poor job of letting students know about them.

The first major event to pay tribute to the celebration is “Living like Mama D-Lessons in Community Service and Leadership,” hosted by the Division of Student Affairs on March 13 at the UC Lounge.

It will look at the life of a courageous woman who helped to improve the lives of thousands of homeless people in Los Angeles. The event will feature a workshop that will help inspire and motivate students to change their surroundings for the better.

The following week, the Division of Student Affairs, the History Department, and the Women’s Studies Program will be hosting another guest speaker, who will discuss female activists in Latin America and South Africa and the movement to fight violence against women.

These are great programs that will no doubt raise awareness of influential women in history and today. Yet, although they are scheduled for next two weeks, there have been hardly any attempts to notify the student body about the events.

So, even though the University seems to want to attract large turnouts, there’s little promotion for these events.

On the St. John’s Web site, there is absolutely no mention of Women’s History Month or any of the associated programs. In fact, if one were to look it up on the site’s search engine, only a few results for events this week would appear. All of them are scheduled to take place at the Staten Island campus.

This makes it sound as if there are no Women’s History events planned for the Queens campus. Clearly, this is not true.
The National Women’s History Project, an organization dedicated to preserving women’s heritage, has announced that the national theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is art. However, though St. John’s acknowledges this, none of the events actually deal with art.

The University is not entirely to blame, though. Students should make a greater effort to find out about these programs themselves.

More importantly, they should take an interest in the background of Women’s History Month and the great accomplishments by American women that inspired its celebration.

Once again, the University has made a genuine effort to kindle a spirit of community and awareness among the student body. The problem lies in the execution.

With almost no notification about on-campus events, student participation should be expected to be low. Even a program as well-conceived in theory as the Women’s Heritage Celebration this month can come up short in practice without proper publicity.