The Organization of Women Leaders hopes to inspire women at CMU

Taylor Ballek/ Staff Photographer Midland junior Sadie Quinlan, left, speaks to the members of the Organization of Women Leaders Sunday night about plans for the upcoming SlutWalk, an event to spread awareness on behalf of sexual assault victims, on Sunday night at the Down Under Food Court in the Bovee University Center.

O–W–L: Three simple letters with an even greater meaning.

The Organization of Women Leaders is a nationwide registered student organization that started up at Central Michigan University in 2003 that promotes women’s education and encourages women leaders.

"The OWL is an organization in which women take on leadership while networking and advocating for gender equality," said Farmington Hills senior and OWL President Grace Stevenson.

The organization encourages women to be leaders and to assert their presence in society. Junior Sam Parker, a first-year member, has already felt the importance of being a strong leader.

“I really like the conversations that we have; we all have different opinions and it is nice to be able to share them,” the Ohio native said. “Our talks regard all types of women and gender equality issues. I think that the meetings and events that we have held have been an eye-opener for people. When students stay after and ask questions or just to talk is when I have felt the empowerment.”

CMU alum and OWL adviser Erin Smith said the organization presents necessary information to promote women as being superior.

“Recently, I received an email that this organization was looking for a new adviser, and I thought how great it would be to work with women leaders and to contribute to great networking and talents. I can’t wait to see where this year takes us,” Smith said.

The group tries to inspire women through events, fundraisers, volunteer and committee work. St. Clair senior and Vice President Mary Witherspoon has been a member for four years and is in charge of the next big event being put on by the OWL.

“The Slut Walk is our next upcoming event," Witherspoon said. "People always say that the way women dress invites men in, and we do not agree with this statement and are trying to stop victim-blaming. We are aiming for the event to take place in April, and anyone can come and march with us to show support for sexually assaulted victims.”

Witherspoon also said how important and beneficial women leadership is to society.

“I became involved as a freshman," Witherspoon said. "This group is exactly what I believe in. I quickly found my place with others that think like me and stand for what I believe in, which is comforting.

"Not only did I meet new people and become a better leader with more confidence, but many alums have been successful. One OWL alum now works under President (Barack) Obama. This organization gives people the chance to get involved and is a great way to network with others.”


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