Category Archives: Events and Celebrations

It’s time…to show your support

Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.  Help bring awareness to the resources that exist to serve survivors by taking two minutes to update your profile picture via your social media outlet of choice.

How do we stand united against Sexual Assault?  It’s simple:

1.  Find a camera.

2. Grab a clock (grandfather, alarm, digital, or wall – all are acceptable).

3. Hold the clock.

4. Take your picture.

5. Post it to all of your social media sites April 5, 2011.

Take the time to get involved and show support.

After you’ve posted your picture, take two minutes to learn a fact about sexual assault.  Here’s a free fact: It is never the victim’s fault in cases of sexual assault or violence.  Rape is about power and control, not about the way someone’s dressed.  The greatest thing you can do for someone who tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted is believe them.

Here are some great resources for information about sexual assault.  Get informed:

Iowa State University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy

ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support)

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

Sexual Assault Awareness Month


International Women’s Day

Last year on this day, I got flowers delivered to my office.  Now, this is no ordinary thing for me.  I wasn’t dating anyone.  I hadn’t recently accomplished anything great.  I read the card and it said “Happy International Women’s Day. We’re proud of you.”  (Side story – the card wasn’t signed by anyone… so I went several days wondering who sent me flowers, later to find out the flower company just forgot to add “Love, Mom and Dad” – thanks for the mystery, flowers company!).  This gesture by my parents meant a great deal to me.  To be honest, I never really thought about myself as a woman leader.  I could see them sending me flowers on my birthday or even Valentine’s Day, but I never would have imagined them sending me flowers on International Women’s Day. So it got me thinking – why would they do that? Why this day? They must see something in me as a woman that I don’t see in myself.

This year in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program, I’ve had the opportunity to explore this part of my identity even more.  I was still struggling with why this was an important part of my identity, and this is one reason I wanted to engage in a practicum at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center.  I wanted to figure out what difference it makes to be a woman in a male dominated world.

Looking at our history, women have had to and continue to overcome many obstacles.  In the U.S., we weren’t granted to opportunity to vote or run for public office until 1920 (and there are still some countries in the world that don’t have women’s suffrage, such as Saudi Arabia).  And still, the gender gap in public office is wide – in the House, there are currently 360 men and 75 women, and in the Senate there are only 17 women compared with 83 men.  There are five times as many men making decisions that affect both sexes equally.  And Iowa is one of four states to never elected a woman to congress.

We’re still working on closing the gender pay gap, the number of women in STEM fields, and, according to CNN Money, in 2006, there were only 10 women running Fortune 500 companies, and only 20 in the top 1,000.  We have a long ways to go.

So, we celebrate the progress we have made, and we are reminded of the work that needs to yet be done.  International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It honors the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds us of inequities still to be addressed.

Who is a woman who has impacted your life?  Who is a woman who is quietly making change, without even realizing it? Recognize that person today… a simple “thank you” or “keep up the good work” can go a long way.

Amanda Martin is doing a practicum in the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center. She can be reached at


The Vagina Monologues!

Well friends, we are officially in V-Season!  The Iowa State ({2011}) V-Day campaign to end violence against women is in full swing.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Vagina Monologues, do we have a treat for you!

Here’s a sneak peak from the playwright herself, Eve Ensler:

Since 1996, The Vagina Monologues have been shocking and delighting audiences across the globe.  The Vagina Warriors at Iowa State are proud to perform this year’s show.  For the past month, we have been talking about vaginas, creating paper vaginas, selling chocolate vaginas, and rehearsing monologues about vaginas.  Through the sisterhood of the cast, we are excited to bring you a show that not only promises to entertain, but raises awareness about the very serious topic of domestic and sexual violence.

The mission of the V-Day campaign is at the heart of each Vagina Warriors:

V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.

V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.

V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.

V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.

V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.

V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.

V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.

V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!

Performances in the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop:

Thursday, February 10th @ 5:30pm – Join us for a brief discussion after the show to learn how you can work to end violence throughout the year.

Friday, February 11th @ 6:00pm – We are proud to provide American Sign Language interpreters at this show!

Friday, February 11th @ 9:00pm

Tickets are on sale at the M-Shop.  Students pay $12 with an ISU i.d. and community members pay $15.  Chocolate vaginas will be available for purchase at all shows.  Visit us in the West Student Office Space booth on Monday, January 31; Tuesday, February 1; Thursday, February 10; and Friday, February 11 to purchase “I Respect Vaginas” t-shirts and chocolates.

All proceeds from the show go to benefit the Ames Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS).  Last year we were able to raise $5,000.  Help us surpass that this year!

Questions? Contact Liz Steinborn at the MSWC:

Sloss House Preview

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to stop by and see the Sloss House, you can view this video, produced by the Iowa State Daily!

Thank you to everyone who made our reopening such a success!  The Sloss House has been re-warmed with over 70 people in attendance yesterday and we would like to invite you to spend more time with us at the house.

Door prizes from our drawing were awarded to:
Teresita A.
Chris P.
Gail F.
April W.

Congratulations and thanks again for showing your support at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center!

The Sloss House

Welcome back friends!  I hope you had a restful break, and for those of you joining us for the first time, Welcome!  Iowa State is a great place to be and you should add the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center to your list of must-visit places on campus.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Sloss House before, I’d like to invite you to come and see us soon.  We are the two-story house between Gerdin and Curtiss on Central Campus.  We have comfortable furniture on our main floor with three rooms to lounge, knit, or study in, a three-computer lab with a printer (printing is free, just bring your own paper!), and a kitchen with a refrigerator, oven, microwave, coffee pot, and bread machine all available for you to use.  It is a warm, cozy place for group meetings, quiet reading, or just hanging out to watch our new flat screen t.v.


The Sun Room



On the second floor, you will find the staff offices.  If you’d like to come talk to someone about volunteering or learning more about the events we sponsor on campus, visit Petey and Liz, the graduate assistants, in the office at the top of the stairs.  Also stop and see us if you’d like to set up an appointment with Dr. Penny Rice, Director, or Chris Fowler, Assistant Director.  They’re happy to chat with students, staff, and faculty, just make an appointment first.


The Staff: Penny Rice, Christine "Petey" Peterson, Chris Fowler, and Liz Steinborn


Also, be sure to check out our event calendar on the Women’s Center homepage as we have many exciting events coming up this semester from observing January as National Stalking Awareness Month to “The Vagina Monologues”.  Join us on January 19th for our Reopening and 30th Anniversary kickoff event from 10-2!  Enter a drawing to win prizes, have a treat, and learn about the renovations the Sloss House endured this last summer and fall semester.

We’re excited to meet you – and please bring friends!


Join ChickLit – a book club hosted by the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center.

Join us to discuss a book each month, or just come to talk about your favorite.  Though we don’t have copies of the books to share, you can find them at most major bookstores and at the Parks and Ames City Libraries.  We will meet monthly on the main floor of the Sloss House from 12-1pm to discuss the following books:

January 20 Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks & The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

In this engaging and provocative volume, bell hooks introduces a popular theory of feminism rooted in common sense and the wisdom of experience. Hers is a vision of a beloved community that appeals to all those committed to equality, mutual respect, and justice.

hooks applies her critical analysis to the most contentious and challenging issues facing feminists today, including reproductive rights, violence, race, class, and work. With her customary insight and unsparing honesty, hooks calls for a feminism free from divisive barriers but rich with rigorous debate. In language both eye-opening and optimistic, hooks encourages us to demand alternatives to patriarchal, racist, and homophobic culture, and to imagine a different future.

hooks speaks to all those in search of true liberation, asking readers to take look at feminism in a new light, to see that it touches all lives. Issuing an invitation to participate fully in feminist movement and to benefit fully from it, hooks shows that feminism—far from being an outdated concept or one limited to an intellectual elite–is indeed for everybody.

In a startling departure from her previous novels ( Lady Oracle , Surfacing ), respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist’s nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the “morally fit” Wives.

The tale is told by Offred (read: “of Fred”), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be. This powerful, memorable novel is highly recommended for most libraries.


February 17 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn’s new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who’s raised 17 children, and Aibileen’s best friend Minny, who’s found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers.

The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it. (Feb.)


March 24 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Once you start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there’s no turning back. This debut thriller–the first in a trilogy from the late Stieg Larsson–is a serious page-turner rivaling the best of Charlie Huston and Michael Connelly.

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch–and there’s always a catch–is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.


April 21 The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The red tent is the place where women gathered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and even illness. Like the conversations and mysteries held within this feminine tent, this sweeping piece of fiction offers an insider’s look at the daily life of a biblical sorority of mothers and wives and their one and only daughter, Dinah. Told in the voice of Jacob’s daughter Dinah (who only received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis), we are privy to the fascinating feminine characters who bled within the red tent. In a confiding and poetic voice, Dinah whispers stories of her four mothers, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah–all wives to Jacob, and each one embodying unique feminine traits. As she reveals these sensual and emotionally charged stories we learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Eventually Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief, and a call to midwifery.

“Like any sisters who live together and share a husband, my mother and aunties spun a sticky web of loyalties and grudges,” Anita Diamant writes in the voice of Dinah. “They traded secrets like bracelets, and these were handed down to me the only surviving girl. They told me things I was too young to hear. They held my face between their hands and made me swear to remember.” Remembering women’s earthy stories and passionate history is indeed the theme of this magnificent book. In fact, it’s been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been had it been written by God’s daughters, instead of her sons.

The mighty huntress

A good hunter goes out prepared.  A map of the route to the most bountiful grounds plotted.  The coffee maker set to brew at the earliest hour of the year.  Clothing set out for silent dressing and comfortable shoes for miles of prey-stalking.  Ammunition tucked into all of the appropriate pockets.

She’s ready.

Not to shoot a turkey…no, she’s ready to shop.  Credit cards, coupons, and cash all tucked away to be spent, spent, spent!  Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  For some, Thanksgiving is simply a fueling day before their favorite holiday.

I recognize that there are great deals on Black Friday – deals that you can’t really find any other time of the year.  But it becomes a rabid hunt for stuff.  If you absolutely must participate in the crazy consumerism here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Roads are slick.  If you must be first in line when the stores open, leave earlier rather than speeding on icy roads.  And be polite nice – Santa’s watching.
  2. Store employees are people.  Treat them kindly.  They’ve been working since 12am, 1am, 2am, etc.  And they have hours to go.  Ask them politely where you can find things before fussing through grit teeth.
  3. No fist-fights over the Harry Potter Lego sets.  Is it really worth a black eye to have that particular toy?
  4. Easy on the credit cards.  It’s great fun to give gifts.  It isn’t as fun to pay on your holiday debt until the 4th of July.  Remember that the things you purchase with “no money down” will, in fact, require money at some point.
  5. And finally, be nice to the people you’re shopping with.  Chances are, they are friends or family.  Snapping at them for walking too slow, or needing to go to the bathroom does not make them move any faster.  And remember, shopping is supposed to be fun, right?

If you’ve decided to sleep in on Friday and save your shopping for another day, may I ask you to consider shopping locally?  There are some phenomenal items available on campus where you’d be support local clubs and students, rather than corporate coffers.

  • Horticulture Club Poinsettia Sale: Curtiss Hall Rotunda on December 1st (other locations on campus through the 4th).  $5-20 for beautiful plants.
  • Art Mart in the Maintenance Shop: December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th from 12-7pm.  Purchase crafts, glass, and other ISU community-produced artwork.
  • Make your own wreath at Reiman Gardens on December 4th from 9am-12pm.  Mom’s love homemade gifts…
  • Give an early holiday gift – a ticket to the musical “1972”.  At the Maintenance Shop December 9th, 10th, and 11th.  $8 for students and $12 for public – email for more information!

There are also tons of great shops and stores in Ames.  When you support local business, you are supporting your neighbors.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  And good luck with the hunt tomorrow!

Written by Liz Steinborn

1972: The Musical

“1972: The Musical”

30th Anniversary benefit for the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center

Join the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center for a musical romp back in time to 1972.  America was immersed in the jungles of Vietnam as second-wave feminists fought their own battles at home.

Cast of 1972: Clayton Johnson, Lindsay Allen, David Michael, Jo Self, & Alysa Mozak

“1972”, written and directed by Clark Ford, is a three-act musical about a family facing change.  The father, played by David Michael, is a humorous conservative with a penchant for Archie Bunker.  The mother, played by Jo Self, holds the family together but yearns to go back to school and then gets a job outside of the family.  Bob, the college-aged son, played by Clayton Johnson, is in a fraternity and is pursuing the American Dream.  Lindsey Allen plays the college-aged daughter studying feminism.  She really begins to question the religion and patriarchy in which she was raised.  Alysa Mozak plays the part of Janice, a free-loving hippie who is going back to school, and it turns out both Bob and Marnie are attracted to her…

Show times and Dates:

  • Thursday, December 9th, 7:30pm
  • Friday, December 10th, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, December 11th, 2:00pm
  • Saturday, December 11th, 7:30pm

Tickets on Sale at the Maintenance Shop
$8 for students
$12 for public

For more information, contact the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center (  We can’t wait to see you at the show!

The First Lady of Thanksgiving

Ever wonder why Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November?  I don’t think the Native Americans and pilgrims checked their calendars and decided Thursday would be the best day for turkey, corn, parades, and dog shows.

Thanksgiving was haphazardly scheduled by individual states up until 1863.  Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of the Ladies Magazine (which eventually became the Ladies Book), wrote a letter to President Lincoln imploring him to declare the last Thursday of November to be the nationally observed day for Thanksgiving.  Here is her letter (as found at

From Sarah J. Hale to Abraham Lincoln, September 28, 1863

Philadelphia, Sept. 28th 1863.


Permit me, as Editress of the “Lady’s Book”, to request a few minutes of your precious time, while laying before you a subject of deep interest to myself and — as I trust — even to the President of our Republic, of some importance. This subject is to have the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.

You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.

Enclosed are three papers (being printed these are easily read) which will make the idea and its progress clear and show also the popularity of the plan.

For the last fifteen years I have set forth this idea in the “Lady’s Book”, and placed the papers before the Governors of all the States and Territories — also I have sent these to our Ministers abroad, and our Missionaries to the heathen — and commanders in the Navy. From the recipients I have received, uniformly the most kind approval. Two of these letters, one from Governor (now General) Banks and one from Governor Morgan are enclosed; both gentlemen as you will see, have nobly aided to bring about the desired Thanksgiving Union.

But I find there are obstacles not possible to be overcome without legislative aid — that each State should, by statute, make it obligatory on the Governor to appoint the last Thursday of November, annually, as Thanksgiving Day; — or, as this way would require years to be realized, it has ocurred to me that a proclamation from the President of the United States would be the best, surest and most fitting method of National appointment.

I have written to my friend, Hon. Wm. H. Seward, and requested him to confer with President Lincoln on this subject As the President of the United States has the power of appointments for the District of Columbia and the Territories; also for the Army and Navy and all American citizens abroad who claim protection from the U. S. Flag — could he not, with right as well as duty, issue his proclamation for a Day of National Thanksgiving for all the above classes of persons? And would it not be fitting and patriotic for him to appeal to the Governors of all the States, inviting and commending these to unite in issuing proclamations for the last Thursday in November as the Day of Thanksgiving for the people of each State? Thus the great Union Festival of America would be established.

Now the purpose of this letter is to entreat President Lincoln to put forth his Proclamation, appointing the last Thursday in November (which falls this year on the 26th) as the National Thanksgiving for all those classes of people who are under the National Government particularly, and commending this Union Thanksgiving to each State Executive: thus, by the noble example and action of the President of the United States, the permanency and unity of our Great American Festival of Thanksgiving would be forever secured.

An immediate proclamation would be necessary, so as to reach all the States in season for State appointments, also to anticipate the early appointments by Governors.

Excuse the liberty I have taken

With profound respect

Yrs truly

Sarah Josepha Hale,

Editress of the “Ladys Book”

On October 3rd, 1863, President Lincoln announced that Thanksgiving should indeed fall on the last Thursday of November for everyone.  Sometimes you just have to write the President and tell them what’s up!

We can also be thankful that Thursday was the day because it allots (some of) us a lovely four-day weekend.

What are you thankful for this year?

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