Women’s Council of RIT commemorates 60th anniversary with new efforts

Council adapts initiatives to address current challenges faced by women

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The Women’s Council of RIT is celebrating its 60th anniversary by establishing an emergency fund to help students in need.

In honor of the council’s anniversary, the new endowed fund, Bridging the Gap, is being formed in collaboration with the Center for Women and Gender. The fund will provide financial assistance to students who are caught in unexpected challenges. Students could use the assistance for groceries, medical expenses and transportation.

Marianne Goff, president of the Women’s Council, discussed ways to expand involvement with students and support those experiencing financial hardship at the council’s recent 60th anniversary speaker series and luncheon. Nearly 50 members attended the series that focused on the role of the council in the past, present and future. Other speakers included Jody Sidlaukas, Wallace Center associate archivist and Darci Lane-Williams, director of the Center for Women and Gender.

The Women’s Council was founded in 1955 as a social organization for women faculty and trustees. Members held monthly luncheons and events to maintain connections between the larger community and RIT. They also had the foresight to establish scholarships for female students.

“We are continuing the charter but evolving with the times,” Goff said. “The focus of the council has changed from being very social to being more integrated with the current needs of RIT. We are looking to help women who have a personally challenging situation.”

Over the last 10 years, the council has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships. Every year they give out several outstanding senior scholarships and endowed scholarships to female students.

In the future, the council’s main goals are to increase their efforts on campus and connect with new students, faculty and staff. Members plan to continue growing relationships through collaborations with other RIT organizations and scholarship opportunities. The council will be hosting some campus events in the next few months.

“The 60th anniversary was a way for us to reaffirm our existence and figure out where we’re going in the future,” Goff said. “We are always looking for new members and different ways of doing things so we can make it to another milestone.”

For more information about the Women’s Council, click here.