RIT celebrates women by reclaiming meaning of key symbols

Flowers and fair-trade chocolate will be handed out March 28

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A. Sue Weisler

Head to the Student Alumni Union March 28 for free tulips and chocolate to celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

March is a month of empowerment and celebration for women locally and globally—International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8 and, in the United States, March has been declared as Women’s History Month.

The College of Liberal Arts’ Women and Gender Studies Committee, along with the Center for Women and Gender, is reclaiming—if only for one day—the meaning of two conventional gifts associated with women, flowers and chocolates, during their celebration of women on March 28. From noon to 2 p.m. in the Student Alumni Union, committee members will be handing out free tulips and fair-trade chocolate to passers-by.

“We are reinterpreting in a more positive sense the symbolic meaning of these two items that have been highly commercialized and voided of an alternative and potent symbolism in terms of women’s empowerment,” says Silvia Benso, professor of philosophy and committee’s interim co-chair. “This day, colorful tulips will be associated with life, hope, diversity, interconnections and strength, and our fair-trade chocolates, produced by a company that does not engage in exploitative work practices, are a sign of the need to recognize, value and fairly reward everyone’s contribution, especially women’s. This event is about celebrating women, women at RIT and women in the world.”

In addition to flowers and chocolates, information will be available relevant to women’s issues, programming, groups, services and initiatives—on and off campus.

For more information about the College of Liberal Arts’ Women’s and Gender Studies program, go to www.rit.edu/cla/minors_and_concentrations.php#2.