Women of K-State discuss goals for year, history

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Women gathered together Wednesday afternoon to eat lunch and learn about Women of K-State, an organization that has been bringing members of the K-State community together since 2009.

The group is not limited to people from Manhattan — several women from K-State-Salina watched the lecture over video conference. About 40 people attended the lecture, most of whom were faculty and staff members, as well as some students.

Many attendees brought a sack lunch, and after the food was consumed, Noel Schulz, one of the founders of the group and professor of electrical and computer engineering, spoke about Women of K-State.

Schulz, whose husband is president Kirk Schulz, started the lecture by going through K-State women’s trivia. For example, the first graduating class at K-State was 50 percent female, and many of the buildings around campus are named after women.

“We think we may have the most buildings named after women on campus out of any university,” Schulz said. “We haven’t done a thorough search, though.”

Kedzie, West and Thompson halls are some of the buildings named after important women.

Schulz proceeded to go through her vision for the Women of K-State initiative, explaining different events and plans the group had for the upcoming year. She even wore a scarf emblazoned with the Women of K-State logo and she informed members about how to purchase them. Using a PowerPoint presentation, she talked about why there was a need for the overall initiative.

“It wasn’t a new organization so much as a support organization to fill the gaps with the other groups on campus,” Schulz said.

Even though some of the gaps might not be readily apparent, they are present. Schulz recited an anecdote about how universities with a Women in Engineering group have fewer female students drop out from engineering programs even if the students never attended a meeting.

Later, during the question and answer period, several major points arose as attendants discussed their concerns. Schulz spoke about Women of K-State’s new plans to help women get promoted, get nominations for awards and receive distinguished professorships. Other women wanted to know about adding changing tables to more areas around campus.

Jordan Kalal, junior in computer engineering, said she learned a lot and she was pleased with the outcome.

“It was informative. She mentioned it was an umbrella structure to reach out to other groups on campus and that is what I am really looking for, to see what I want to get involved with on campus,” Kalal said.

Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, instructor of management, said she also appreciated the lecture.

“A point that resonated with me was when the first lady said we need to recognize and appreciate men as well as women who support us and get us were we need to be,” Whitney-Bammerlin said. “She was helping us gain a gender balance, and I thought that was good from a multicultural perspective.”

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