| 03.21.2018

A celebration of suffrage —UI Women’s Center celebrates Women’s Equality Day with outdoor feminist fair


When Carlos Vazquez attended FEMFest his freshman year at the University of Idaho, he did it to support his sister, who worked at the UI Women’s Center.

is year, the sophomore secondary edu- cation major said he’s attending the event to be supportive of the Women’s Center and the work they do, but also to enjoy the festivities.

“ e event is pretty interesting,” Vazquez said. “It’s kind of the rst place to get a taste of what opportunities there are for students who want to raise awareness for issues af- fecting women and support the resources provided to them.”

FEMFest was originally created in 2011 as a part of a line-up of events celebrating the UI Women’s Center’s 40th anniver- sary. Bekah MillerMacPhee, the Women’s

Center assistant director of programs, said the outdoor feminist fair is composed of a variety of student and community organi- zations and campus departments, and in- cludes free snacks and activities.

“We invite student community groups and campus departments to table,” Miller- MacPhee said. “ ere will be free ice cream sandwiches and popcorn on the plaza, we’ll have music and a ra e.”

e event takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 25 outside the Idaho Commons.

MillerMacPhee said FEMFest helps stu- dents learn more about the student organi- zations that focus on women’s equity, as well as the on-campus and community resources provided to women.

“When I was a student, my world was pretty limited to campus, which is ne, there’s a lot to know, but it’s nice to know there are community organizations that are there to support students too,” Miller- MacPhee said.

One community organization that will attend the event is the League of Women Voters, who will be o ering to register students to vote.

Nicole Skinner, a UI senior and Women’s Center sexual assault programs assistant, said in the past, she’s also seen the selection of featured organizations range from the Green Dot Safety Program to women’s roller derby teams.

Vazquez, a member of the multicultural fraternity Omega Delta Phi, said his frater- nity has worked with and been sponsored by the Women’s Center in the past. He said he believes FEMFest is an important event for all students, not just women, to attend, as it’s an opportunity to show support for women’s rights.

“As a member, to be able to give back in terms of going to FEMFest I think is super key to show we do have mutual respect and we do want to advocate for women’s rights,” Vazquez said.

While the event serves as an opportunity for students to become more familiar with organizations that support and champion women’s rights, MillerMacPhee said it’s ul- timately a celebration of women. FEMFest takes place on Women’s Equality Day, es-

tablished in 1972 to mark and celebrate the achievements of women’s su rage. Students from all backgrounds are welcome and en- couraged to join the celebration.

“People don’t need to be involved in any activism or really have any knowledge of women’s su rage to enjoy this event,” Mill- erMacPhee said. “We welcome all students — this is a celebration of women’s equal- ity, but we welcome engagement from all genders and ages, from transfer or new stu- dents, seniors and nontraditional students.”

Skinner said FEMFest is the kind of event students can either take their time enjoying or quickly visit between classes.

“I also think it’s good because it’s more upbeat and fun,” Skinner said. “A lot of activ- ist work is not always fun or upbeat because it’s dealing with very serious issues, and it’s nice to have events dedicated to being posi- tive and upli ing and empowering.”

Corrin Bond can be reached at arg-arts@uidah0.edu

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