NMU's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will host a Rise U.P. Women's March 2020 post-reception Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Ore Dock Brewing Company. The event will feature all-female speakers and musicians, along with a pop-up art show by female artists. PRSSA is highlighting several empowering NMU students, faculty and staff in advance of the march and reception. This is the last of four installments recognizing their dedication.
This will be the second consecutive year that PRSSA has hosted a post-Women's March reception. Those featured in the organization's #RiseU.P. social media campaign answered several questions related to empowerment, their source of inspiration and their hopes for women in the world. Following are some of their responses:
Trysten Loos, PR major from Marquette and campaign manager for the Women's March post-reception.
“I #RiseU.P. for all the powerful women in my community. To me, feeling powerful means nothing if you don't work to empower others. Through my major, I've been able to create events that give women of all ethnicities and sexual identities a platform to share their ideas, thoughts, struggles, talents, and passions. With this, I hope to create a place for women and girls to feel safe, respected and most importantly empowered. With the added bonus that no one is ever telling them to smile. With that being said, “here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
Who do you look up to as an empowering female in your life or on campus and why? “When I think about all the women who empower me, I'm finding it hard to pick just one. From my older sister who's always empowered me to be my authentic self, to my female professors who have given me an outlet to grow and advice I'll keep forever, to my dearest friends who are always in my corner rooting for me. This to me is just a few of the women who I look up and with this, I feel as if I've created a sisterhood for myself with the powerful women I've met throughout my life and for that, I'm eternally grateful.”
How can women support women on NMU's campus? “For me, it's really about showing up for women every day. Go to female-centered events, buy from female-owned businesses, check on your female friends, educate yourself and others on issues pertaining to women of all sexual orientations, ethnicities, etc, fight for these issues, support organizations that help or benefit women, and listen to the women around you. This list is only a fraction of the ways you can support women in your community and that's what is so wonderful about it. There are a million ways to get involved and I urge everyone to. After all, girls gotta support girls.”
How would you describe your future in 3 words? “Try 3 letters; C.E.O.”
Gabriela Martinez, graphic design student
I #RiseU.P. for all the powerful women in my community. It is an incredible combination to feel beautiful and powerful at the same time. And I say it because I can no longer separate these two concepts to express what I feel and think as a woman, friend, athlete, and student. I feel powerful when I see that my goals are being achieved and when projects come true. I love the feeling of triumph of my achievements. To me, feeling beautiful means waking up every morning and look at myself in the mirror and think "This is me" and no matter what I see that day, I recognize myself for being who I am. What makes me feel powerful and beautiful at the same time is not worrying about what other people say and think. To be able to dress as I want and feel confident. Knowing myself and deciding freely about my life makes me feel powerful.
What inspires you? Art. Films, poems, paintings and even music have the ability to touch the soul in a very unique and individual way. The creation of art expresses emotions, and how we see the world through enriched experiences. For me, design fosters creative expression of ideas, messages, connections and is a way to put something new and positive into the world
When you close your eyes and imagine an empowering woman, what do you see? I see a woman being able to use her voice and making her own decisions. Someone passionate, brave, and a fighter
How would you describe your future in 3 words? Remarkable. Prosperous. Adventure.
Gerri Daniels, Executive Director of Admissions
How can women support women on NMU's campus? By listening, encouraging, challenging each other to tackle the hard problems and believe in ourselves and each other. This means taking the time to interact face-to-face
What inspires you? People working creatively together to solve problems and attain mutual goals.
What role do men play in supporting empowering women? How have men supported you? I have been incredibly fortunate to have many supportive men in my life. My dad always conveyed that his three daughters could do anything and encouraged us/challenged us to work hard and do our best. My husband of 37 years has always supported my work, my decisions, my engagements professionally and in the community, and maybe most importantly, was a stay-at-home dad for 13 years, and fantastic role model for our two sons, who have also supported me and believed in me and have been raised in an environment of respect that is evident in their adult lives and relationships with the women in their work and personal lives. The men I have worked for and worked with throughout the years provided opportunity, direction, reality checks, and support in the kindest ways. What role do men play in supporting the empowerment of women? Every interaction is an opportunity for the men in the room to elevate the women (and men) around them through positive communication.
Maddie Pederson, photography student
I am empowered by my creativity. When I'm being creative, I'm living my truth. As a woman, it can be difficult to live your truth because society has a very restrictive definition of what it means to be a woman. I find that by creating art, I am able to redefine what being a woman means to me. My emotions are not simply hormonal, they are important and beautiful. By expressing them through my art, my emotions help me connect to others and to myself. Art helps me see the beauty that exists in everything, thus it helps me to see beauty in myself.
What is your vision or hope for women in the world? My vision for women in the world is that they are no longer afraid to be exactly who they are. Women should not feel the need to conceal their power, they should wear it proudly like a shimmering crown.
What do you love most about yourself? I love my empathetic nature. It can be difficult at times to feel the energy that others are putting out into the world because sometimes that energy is negative. But ultimately it helps me to be a better listener and build stronger connections to others.
How would you describe your future in three words? Adventurous, curious and joyful.
These stories were compiled by Molly Gaudreau and Brooke Baneck of PRSSA.