Dr. Tiffany Fink, professor of history at Hardin-Simmons University, organized a women’s celebration dinner and panel on March 28 as a way to end National Women’s History Month honoring women on the HSU campus.
“I asked my friends and students on campus in January 2018 to help me bring International Women’s Day to HSU,” Dr. Fink said. “They said yes. We even had a few events before Spring Break in 2020.”
Each year the event allows students to give feminine hygiene products as a donation. These products go to several local women’s service agencies, including the Noah Project, New Beginnings and Love and Care Ministries.
“International Women’s Day is about advocacy. So we established advocacy in the area of period poverty as our focus,” Dr. Fink said. “The Social Work Program, Office of Academic Advising and HSU Library have really helped us with that part by serving as collection sites. I even installed boxes in the women’s restrooms of Skiles building that have free tampons and pads. I’ve been filling those for two years out of my own pocket.” Students can still bring donations of feminine hygiene products to the Richardson Library, social work office and to Dr. Fink’s office in Room 206 of the Skiles Building through the end of April..
During the dinner, attendees were encouraged to ask each other questions like “who is an influential woman in your family and why is she important to you?”
“I enjoyed getting to hear about everyone’s family and learn more about my friend’s experiences as a woman that are different from mine,” Kara Cooper, a freshman communication sciences and disorders major from Fort Worth, said. “I got to understand more about how lucky I am to have grown up with my family being supportive and not treating being a woman like a hindrance.”
The panel included several students and alumni from HSU. Due to the wide range of ages and experiences of the women on the panel, students got to learn more about issues like the glass ceiling and racism in the workplace and in schools. However, the panel also highlighted several improvements made for women in recent years, like the softball team being added to HSU in the early 2000s when baseball had been played on campus off and on since 1904.
“This has been one of my favorite on-campus events,” Cooper said. “I really hope to see this continue in the coming years.”