Welcoming ceremony for women ‘Lights the Way’ Aug. 23

RIT holds eighth annual Lighting the Way Ceremony to inspire incoming female students

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Maria Sharp

RIT holds its eighth annual Lighting The Way ceremony Aug. 23 to welcome female students.

A traditional welcoming ceremony for female first-year and transfer students will celebrate the connections and contributions of women at Rochester Institute of Technology.

RIT will hold its eighth annual Lighting the Way ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23. Starting in the Gordon Field House, the orientation event allows female students, faculty and staff to show incoming women that they are supported and valued by the university.

“The path for women to contribute can be tough to navigate,” says Cha Ron Sattler-Leblanc, associate director of the Center for Women and Gender. “By creating a place where everyone can contribute, life becomes better for everyone.”

The ceremony will include performances by the RIT/NTID Dance Company; Mental Graffiti, an RIT poetry club; Dangerous Signs, an NTID poetry group; and Vocal Accent, an RIT women’s a cappella group. Speakers for the event include Sattler-Leblanc; Heath Boice-Pardee, interim senior vice president of student affairs; and Margaret Bailey, principal investigator and director of NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT, faculty associate to the provost for female faculty and professor of mechanical engineering.

The women will then lead a processional at 8 p.m. with candle-lit lanterns along the Quarter Mile to a dessert reception in the Davis Room Cafeteria, Student Alumni Union. The reception will allow students the opportunity to meet women from various groups and organizations on campus and learn about getting involved.

“Defining that path to contribute at RIT depends on our students finding their fire and using it to light the way,” says Sattler-Leblanc.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Women and Gender, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs and the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Administration. The event was started by James Watters, senior vice president of finance and administration at RIT, and is modeled after the University of Pittsburgh’s “Lantern Night,” a 93-year-old tradition.