The members of the Women’s House opened their home to the campus community last Friday to cap off Women’s Week.
WoHo residents hosted students and professors with snacks, sodas and homemade black bean burgers.
House moderator Paige Ruppel, a junior, planned the event as her house project. She said its primary purpose was “building community.”
Junior WoHo resident Colleen Waickman said she hoped the gathering would help make her house and the rest of the SLUs seem more inviting.
“I think sometimes the SLU community seems intimidating to people, and I think this event is definitely centered around letting people know we’re not intimidating and we’re not scary,” she said.
Freshman Kyle Simon, who will be living in WoHo next year, agreed the event is a good opportunity to change the house’s sour reputation on campus outside of the context of formal programming.
“A lot of people kind of stereotype Women’s House as being super intense and really serious, but the open house gives people a specific event where people can just hang out and find out what it is without having to actually go to an event,” he said.
Professor of Botany David Johnson, Ruppel’s academic advisor, attended the open house at her invitation.
“I have supported the Small Living Units in general as a valuable living option on campus, and thus try to support their activities whenever I can,” he said.
The open house followed Thursday’s Take Back the Night, a combined sexual assault speakout and cross-campus march. According to Simon, all current and future WoHo members help to plan and execute the annual event.
Ruppel said another goal of the open house was to provide a more “uplifting and fun” atmosphere for students and faculty at the end of Women’s Week.
“It’s a good way to regroup after last night and start the weekend a little bit,” she said.
Waickman agreed the open house is a good juxtaposition to Take Back the Night’s somberness.
“(Take Back the Night)’s heavy,” she said. “It’s emotional. After a time like that, I think it’s good for our group and our campus to come together and process that a little bit, whether we talk about the event or just spend time together.”
Johnson said he didn’t attend Take Back the Night or any other Women’s Week programs, but he “fully support(s) the WoHo’s campus programming on important social issues.”
Simon said Women’s Week is meant to have a positive, uplifting message overall.
“Everyone thinks it’s supposed to be super serious, but you can be an activist and be laid back at the same time, so you can have fun with everything that you do,” he said.