By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Baylor hosted its first Multicultural Women’s Symposium on Saturday, featuring staff and faculty on campus from a variety of backgrounds speaking about topics focused on uplifting and promoting unity among women. These themes are meant to help kick off March’s Women’s History Month, which will include events like lectures, a themed Neighbor Night and Dr. Pepper Hour and an International Women’s Day panel.
Jeronda Robinson, associate director of multicultural affairs, described the event as a chance for women to engage in conversation about common topics that all attending students can relate to and apply to their futures.
“I hope it leads everyone to be open to having discussions and just being together. Something we can often miss out on is unity and uplifting one another,” Robinson said. “Especially as women, it doesn’t matter what our background is — we all need to come together to empower one another. I hope this is a safe space where everyone feels comfortable to ask questions and just leaves knowing that there is a community here to help you with anything you may be going through.”
Robinson said this year’s symposium was the first of its kind, and that it was intended to present students with speakers representing campus diversity and a variety of backgrounds.
“This event came about because there are usually some retreats we do before the end of the school year, and we decided this year to do something on campus,” Robinson said. “We’re bringing together college students from every background to come together and see representation and diversity on campus. We want to go over common themes that we all need to talk about — there’s a little something for everyone, and it’s a great time to look around the room and see all the different people on campus that you may not see all the time.”
The event included a panel discussion with Baylor faculty and staff answering questions that students could submit while registering, as well as talks and lectures on a variety of common subjects.
“We have the counseling center speaking on mental health trends and women of color and the wellness center talking about how health matters and applying wellness in busy college life,” Robinson said. “Some other topics are salary negotiation, building a community across cultures and what to focus on after graduation. There’s a plethora of things to talk about that everyone can relate to, which is what we wanted this year. Everything is pretty uplifting and focuses on being successful in the way that you go about life.”
Amanda Hernandez was also involved in the planning of the event with Robinson and expressed gratitude for the women from multiple departments coming together on campus to speak on empowering women.
“One our biggest goals for the symposium is to expose women of color on the Baylor campus to faculty and staff from similar backgrounds,” Hernandez said. “Representation is an issue on the Baylor campus — while there are strides being made in the right direction, we want to be sure to build connections for students that are here now. We hope our event can connect women across campus who have been thinking about similar issues, show them they aren’t alone in this process and empower them to pursue their career and academic goals with confidence.”
Hernandez hopes that further collaboration among departments focuses on furthering women empowerment and representation. She encourages students to look into future events and activities put on by Multicultural Affairs at Baylor.
“I think it might be interesting to collaborate with academic departments to host talks or scholars from other institutions. Many historically marginalized groups have a rich, intellectual traditions that we aren’t always exposed to in the classroom,” Hernandez said. “Multicultural Affairs does a wonderful job of providing and supporting events for individuals from all backgrounds and tastes. There are mixers, book clubs, dances and more — anyone can find an event to attend.”