Mount Vernon women join `power’ program

Thirty GW freshmen are living at the Mount Vernon campus to participate in a program called Women and Power, as part of a Community Living and Learning Center project.

The academic program is similar to other residence-based programs in which participants live together, take classes together, and attend outside seminars and events.

According to the Women and Power mission statement, the program “offers a set of courses linked around the theme of women’s relationship to the structures of power in the Western world, historical as well as contemporary.”

Course requirements for Women and Power include an honors-style pro-seminar class, Women in the Western World, and two English classes with what program director Carolyn Dexter called a “modern feminist theoretical perspective.”

Wallis Patulski, a Women and Power participant, said her classes have increased her interest in pursuing a women’s studies minor.

“It’s not something that I was planning on doing but this has really changed my mind and made me give (the classes) a second look,” Patulski said.

Mistique Cano agreed that the program is changing her views of feminism.

“The program is geared toward articulate, outspoken people and being around them so much has done a lot to make me aware of different women’s issues,” Cano said. “I think I’ll definitely be more in tune to what it means to be a female today.

“Being away from the main GW campus, some of us feel like we’re really missing out on the main thrust of GW,” she said. “If we want to intern or just come into the main campus, we have to set aside close to two hours extra for travel time, with the shuttle and metro. Sometimes I wonder why we can’t just be housed in Crawford like the other Living and Learning people.”

She and another Women and Power participant, Naomi Schneidmill, said living at Mount Vernon is not as convenient as living at the Foggy Bottom campus.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on being a freshman because everything I do has to be planned around the shuttle back out here,” Schneidmill said. “But I really love the program. Our professors are great, and it really makes me think about things that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.”

Other participants, including Sylvia Oleck, enjoy that the group is not housed at the main campus.

“I think the idea of putting us in a women’s campus helps strengthen what we’re taught in class,” Oleck said. “I like it a lot here because it’s the traditional campus, and we kind of get a two-in-one, the best of both campuses.”

Magnon Monroe said her favorite aspect of the program is getting to know everyone quickly because of the group’s close living quarters.

“It’s a really diverse group of people and it makes for some really interesting conversations,” she said. “Even though we are different, living together has made us really close, really quickly.”

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