Luncheon Celebrates the Image and Substance of Women

The third Annual Women’s History Luncheon was a celebration of the Image and Substance of Women. Held in the Crescent Club on Wednesday, March 29, over 160 members of the UT campus pre-registered for this event.

Attendees were asked to RSVP in staff/student or faculty/student pairs to encourage mentoring among young adults – male and female alike.

“It’s important to foster that mentor relationship,” stated Krysten Loielo, who served on the planning committee. “Young people, not just women, are sometimes in need of someone to inspire and influence them in the right direction.”

Back in Oct, plans were already being made for this event. Senior staff members including Linda Devine and Dr. Deborah Lester discussed with Stephanie Russell Holz and Krysten Loielo this year’s theme.

Linda Devine serves as a member of the Athena Project, an adult mentoring program.

“We wanted to incorporate some kind of mentoring, and we immediately thought of the Ophelia Project,” Loielo commented. The Ophelia Project is a national non-profit organization created in 1997 that focuses largely on mentoring young girls coping with adolescence. They encourage parental and community support to positive influences and opportunities for teenage girls.

Previous years’ eventsincluded a discussion panel with women from the Tampa community, as well as a female ambassador from Austria.

“We wanted to do something a little different this year,” stated Loielo. The luncheon was sponsored in part by the Diversity Fellowship, in addition to a donation given by Student Government.

Dr. Norrine Russell, Executive Director of the Ophelia Project of Tampa Bay focused her presentation on the unattainable expectations placed on women today.

“[Women] must not only be beautiful, but smart and successful,” stated Russell. “[They must] also be able to do household duties in addition to taking care of the children.”

Russell also used the paintings of Gustav Klimt to illustrate her point that beauty is only subjective. Among these paintings were The Three Ages of Women, which depicts women at infancy, in their thirtiesand in their fifties.

“We’re really looking for some kind of way to work with the University of Tampa,” stated Russell.

Women in their college years can be the most inspirational to adolescent girls, said Russell College-age women are young enough to be able to relate to what younger girls are experiencing while still having some knowledge of certain situations the young girls may have yet to come across.

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