Women’s studies celebrating 20th year at basketball game

Kevin Allen

This year marks the 20th academic year for the women’s studies program at WKU, and the semester-long celebration is kicking off on Wednesday with halftime activities at the Lady Toppers’ basketball game.

Anyone who brings in shampoo, bar soap, hand soap or other toiletries to donate to the Barren River Area Safe Space, a regional domestic violence shelter, will get into the game free, said Molly Kerby, assistant women’s studies professor and organizer of the event.

In addition, there will be a slideshow display about women’s studies, and President Gary Ransdell will give a speech about the women’s studies program, Kerby said.

T-shirts will also be thrown into the crowd, said Kristi Branham, another assistant women’s studies professor who also helped organize the event.

Kerby said she hopes the halftime show will increase awareness about the women’s studies program because of the positive effects it has on opening students’ minds to alternative viewpoints.

She said the program aims to teach students about ethical judgement and use critical analysis to broaden their views of other cultures and the things around them.

“When you study about gender and diversity and race — no matter what your major is — it makes you a more well-rounded person,” Kerby said.

She also said women’s studies helps prepare students to think in larger terms, which helps them adjust to the new global society today.

“One of the things people are finding is that students, when they come out, aren’t prepared to think globally, and we’re working on that really hard at Western,” Kerby said.

This sentiment was also expressed by Louisville sophomore Meghan Kennedy, a student assistant for the women’s studies program who said her experiences in the program are invaluable.

“I feel like everyone should at least take Intro to Women’s Studies because it really opened my eyes to a new way of looking at our culture, our society and our world,” Kennedy said. “It was nothing that I had ever experienced in high school or in my family life.”

The 20th anniversary celebration will include several events and speakers throughout the semester, ending with a large awards party at the Bowling Green Country Club on April 19, Kerby said.