This has been a year that none of us will soon forget. Many here and around the world experienced 2016 as a time in which uncertainty about the future escalated to levels unprecedented in our recent memories or even our lifetimes. Worst-of lists abound in the end-of-year airwaves. But at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, we are fortunate to have a singular vantage point from which we’ve made some observations of a different sort.

Here at the Women’s Center, we are responsible both for supporting the vulnerable and for giving members of the UVA community opportunities to use their considerable skills and expertise to inspire and advocate for others (n.b., many students are counted in both of those groups at different moments in their college years). With this responsibility, we find, comes the privilege of witnessing the incomparable strength of spirit that UVA students, faculty, staff, and alumni possess. Our view of the powerful force for progress that is alive and well within this community is something we take as a gift and it’s one we want to share with you.

Students Seize their UVA Days

STUDENT LEADERS FOCUS ON WELLNESS

We have long found the student leadership for which UVA is so well known to be a rich source of partnerships and outreach channels for our work. We fulfill frequent requests to join student groups in their efforts to educate their peers about resources and opportunities like those we provide. This year in particular, young people taking the lead in student government and the student-run media at UVA have developed a strong focus on wellness that complements other areas in which they have traditionally worked. The Cavalier Daily, for example, covered our events, came to us for information, and listed us as a resource in well over a dozen articles in 2016. Talking with student reporters and the leaders of student organizations frequently helps us ensure that we have the most current understanding of what students need and want to know. And it’s great to see these emerging leaders encouraging other students to be informed and take charge of their own well-being so they can all make the most of their invaluable time on Grounds!

kimia_inkblot_2016IRIS ASSISTANT EDITOR, KIMIA NIKSERESHT, CHOSEN FOR PRESIDENTIAL INTERNSHIP

Fourth-year Sociology major, Kimia Nikseresht, will continue developing the leadership skills she’s shown as Iris Magazine Assistant Editor next semester when she adds President Sullivan’s office to the list of places she’s served at UVA. Read more >

body-positive_ink-blot_2016BODY POSITIVE TEAM IMPROVES BODY IMAGE ON GROUNDS

Our Body Positive Team was recognized in 2016 for their work to prevent disordered eating and exercise among their peers. Through Perfect Illusions and The Body Project they help ensure that students across Grounds can fully engage as members of the UVA community.

Staff, Alumni & Community Partners Urge Students to New Levels of Engagement

jaronda_inkblot_2016JARONDA MILLER-BRYANT BRINGS STUDENTS TO THE FRONT LINES OF SOCIAL CHANGE

Our Program Director for Global Outreach and Engaged Scholarship, Jaronda Miller-Bryant, was recognized this year for connecting students with real-world advocacy work in their local and global communities. Jaronda’s course provides a firm foundation for all of the students who intern here. Much of the program-specific experience that the interns gain during their year working with individual Women’s Center staff mentors is then shared with the whole internship cohort through Jaronda’s course as well. Read more >

legal-clinic_inkblotLECAL CLINIC TEAMS UP WITH LAW FIRM TO HELP VETERANS

The interns and staff mentor on our Legal Clinic team celebrated Veterans Day by offering a pro-bono legal clinic specifically for veterans in collaboration with Goodman Allen Donnelly. Read more >

gretchen_ink-blot_2016ALUMNA GRETCHEN STEIDLE INSPIRES STUDENTS TO CONFRONT GLOBAL CHALLENGES

Through our 2nd annual Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship, Gretchen Steidle (A&S 1996) connected a crowd of students with the women she guides to be agents of conscious social change in their own communities around the world. A select group of our interns who have been providing behind-the-scenes support to her organization, Global Grassroots, were proud to bring Gretchen’s inspiring example to their peers from across Grounds. Read more >

The 360º Benefits of Mentoring

pam-norris_ink-blot_20162016 ELIZABETH ZINTL LEADERSHIP AWARD PRESENTED TO PAM NORRIS

Our announcement of Pam Norris as the recipient of the 2016 Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award was greeted with cheers, especially from the many students and colleagues Pam has mentored throughout her career. From advising of undergraduates to guiding researchers in her lab Pam’s generosity has resulted in far-reaching contributions to an array of engineering fields for over 20 years. Stories of how those Pam has mentored are now passing that crucial support on to others were among the most moving moments of the award ceremony. Read more >

abby_inkblot_2016WOMEN’S CENTER DIRECTOR, ABBY PALKO, ENCOURAGES MEN TO WORK FOR EQUITY

In 2016 Abby Palko joined us from Notre Dame where her appreciation for the role of men in bringing about gender equity deepened during the time she served as Associate Director of Gender Studies there. Abby’s latest post on our blog focuses on our Men’s Leadership Project as an example of this. Read more >

Our Thanks to You All!

donate button imageMany thanks to all of the student leaders as well as faculty and staff from across Grounds whose collaboration has been essential to our work this year. The above posts by the Cavalier Daily, WUVA, UVA Today and NBC29 and the partnerships represented in them have helped us reach the many audiences we serve. Special thanks also go to all of you who have followed the initiatives above and our numerous other efforts in 2016. We appreciate your time and are so grateful for the donations you make to extend our work farther each year. If you’d like to include the Women’s Center in your end of year giving, please do so here. Thank you!