By Lara Chamberlin
I was in my communications class with Professor Foster when he made the announcement that after many years of being the faculty advisor for the Tamarack that he would like to give up his position as advisor as he needed the time to fulfill other special interests in his life. It just so happens that I too had stumbled upon some ideas myself, a vision.
I recognized that at least some young women on campus were very shy and lacked the skills and the ability to speak for themselves. I saw young women who wanted to say something, but could not bring themselves to speak out loud. When I spoke to them they had so much to say and then I would watch them become very weak and timid in the presence of others, especially professors and men.
Upon taking my Women’s History class I began to understand that women were often seen as radical for having beliefs or opinions and that this had been a common practice for antiquity. The powerful message of the class was that there were many women, who were left out of the history books and the classrooms, who were strong admirable women who fought for what was important to them. This includes strong women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who wrote and presented the “Declaration of Sentiments,” which was a document that defined social injustices forced upon women, such as not being able to own property, or get a divorce, or have rights to their own children. Stanton also expressed resolutions, ways in which society should treat all human beings. Her voice was essentially the beginning of the suffragist movement which eventually earned women the right to vote, some 70 years later. Women such as Jane Addams, who when she graduated from college there were only a few jobs available for women, found a way to put herself and other female college grads to work. She formed and became the leader of what was known as HUD House, a place that supported the influx of impoverished immigrants that were coming into Chicago that lived in sub-standard housing and could barely speak English and take care of basic needs and their children.
I learned that there were so many women who had done wonderful things with their lives, but I had never heard of them until now. Which is why when Professor Foster presented the opportunity to the class in regards to the paper, I knew I had to take it. I saw in the paper an opportunity to manifest my vision, like Stanton and Addams. I saw a place. I saw a home where I could help women to grow and develop their voices so they could be leaders of tomorrow. As part of this vision I also formed a Women’s club called, Women On Campus, where women have a home to express their concerns and learn how to advocate for their needs and learn how to become effective leaders.
It is the vision of one who can make a difference, but the efforts of many who make possible the dream into reality. The point of this article is to express my gratitude to those who helped me with my vision with The Tamarack and Women on Campus. I am trying not to sound too Golden Globe like about this, but they were on as I wrote this, so please bear with me.
I wish to thank the following; Karla Ekquist-Lechner for listening to me go on and on about my vision and for being my mentor and W.O.C. advisor. Yhara Zelinka, the co-advisor to W.O.C., who works tirelessly at her job, being an effective leader and mentor to the students at many different levels. To Karen Blake, who answered every question and helped me to bring both clubs and The Tamarack office into a level of operation. To Dean Mitch Holmes, whose kindness and spark was very instrumental in helping the Tamarack to obtain an office where we could call home. To Dean Troup who was very effective at any loose ends that needed to be tied. To Beth Ann Scott, who didn’t even blink when she was asked to be the Tamarack advisor and allows the Tamarack the breathing room to explore our own vision for the paper. To Professor Foster, who always has a way of making my day come alive with laughter and who only appears to be semi-retired from the paper as he is always there for suggestions and help. To Neph Villanueva and the IT department for getting our office up and running. I also need to thank President Daisy De Fillipis, who cares very dearly about all the students and all their visions and wants to make all our dreams a reality. Oops! I think I hear the music playing…I have to get off the stage…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all!