Xavier University Class Collaborates with National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on "Half the Sky"

| March 5, 2013

In collaboration with the National Underground Freedom Center (NURFC), and in recognition of Women’s History Month, a Xavier University professor created an undergraduate class around the exhibit, “Women Hold Up Half the Sky.” The sociology class developed out of Women’s Center director and sociology professor Tamika Odum’s participation in the Faculty Academy of Xavier’s Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning’s and provides junior and senior college students an opportunity to integrate theory and knowledge with practice. The focus is the groundbreaking exhibit that takes its title and inspiration from the bestselling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Knopf, 2009). Its compelling message is that worldwide oppression of women is the most urgent and pervasive human rights cause today, and gender equality can help solve many of the world’s most severe problems - poverty, violence, child mortality.

Earlier this semester, Odum’s students underwent an intensive study of the content of the exhibition before being trained as docents for the exhibition by course co-facilitator and NURFC Manager of Interpretive Services & Visitor Experiences, Richard Cooper. Starting on Saturdays beginning March 2nd from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., the students will serve as guides and educators for the exhibit through its closing at the end of March. Each week the students will write a reflection blog about their experiences, interaction with public, and their personal thoughts about the content: http://www.freedomcenter.org/freedom-forum/index.php/2013/02/why-does-women-hold-half-sky-matter

The compelling story behind the exhibit and course will also be brought to campus on Thursday March 14, during a screening and discussion of the film “Half the Sky.” The screening is free and open to all and takes place in Kennedy Lecture Hall CLC 412 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Students currently enrolled in the course will share their experiences and observations as part of the discussion.

“This has really been a truly amazing experience for students and highlights an amazing partnership with the Freedom Center,” says Odum.

The six students are:
(45218 Ashley Corbett of Cincinnati, (46205) Kristin Rogers and (46225) Leanna Lucas of Indianapolis,
(63128) Kristin Sanfilippo of Saint Louis, (45042) Hannah Fassler of Middletown, and Josephine Lando of Nairobi, Kenya.