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The Middlebury Campus

Feminist Action Day Seeks to Empower

By Sam Simas

On Sunday, March 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Chellis House will be holding the Red Tent event, an activity designed to help members of the Middlebury community that identify as female relax and pamper themselves for a day, in the McCullough Social Space.

The Red Tent Foundation is helping to sponsor the event with a grant. The Red Tent Foundation is an organization that supports female empowerment and community.

“The Red Tent event affords us with an opportunity to relax and think about what is really important in life,” wrote Karin Hanta, Director of Chellis House, in an email. On why the event is so important, Hanta noted that she “thought that with our busy schedules, we often don’t find the time to sit down and have meaningful conversation.” Hanta and several student monitors have been working over the course of several months to put the event together.

The concept was first brought to Hanta by Anna Stevens ’13.5, who attended such an event in Providence, Rhode Island and was impressed by the sense of community and caring that permeated the conference.

“I was struck by how inclusive this event felt — there were around 100 to 150 women there and it seemed as if each person, stranger or not, had someone to talk with and something to participate in,” Stevens wrote in an email.

This is the first time that event has been held at the College. There will be workshops on many topics, giving attendees the opportunity to explore everything from sexual health and sex toys and financial security to yoga, henna and organic makeup, amongst other things. There is a variety of activities to entertain different types of attendees.

“It’s a perfect time to put aside the schoolwork and spend a few hours indulging yourself in a healthy and fun way,” wrote Rebecca Coates-Finke ’16.5, one of the organizers of the event, in an email.

Holistic health practitioners Nicole Burke and Alyson Young will lead three workshops on the stage of the McCullough Social Space to spearhead conversation at the event. “The Story of Woman: Remembrance of Sacred Traditions” (11 a.m.-12 p.m.) will explore the history of the Red Tent and its place in today’s world, while “13 Clan Mothers” (12:30-1:30 p.m.) will focus on the bonds of sisterhood and giving life to the creative force within ourselves to heal ourselves and the world. “Women’s Moonlodge,” (2-3 p.m.) participants will deepen their connection with their own knowing and plant seeds of intention.

There will be three other workshops on the main floor of McCullough: “Menstrual Health and Arvigo Massage” with naturopath Dr. Sarah E. Wylie from 12:15 to 1 pm, “Sex Toys and Sexual Health” with “Naughty Girlfriend” Jenn Buker, and “Financial Security for Women” with Heather Jerome from the National Bank of Middlebury from 2:15-3 p.m.

“The goal is to provide a safe and comfortable space for Middlebury’s women to take some time to take care of themselves,” Coates-Finke wrote, also noting that organizers expect a large turnout from women of all ages.

Another important goal of the event is to include women from both the College and the town of Middlebury. According to Hanta, there was a significant amount of advertising for the event done in town.

“The event is intended for women from both Middlebury College and the surrounding community and is intergenerational; we are hoping women of all ages will attend,” wrote Stevens.

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