Women leaders on campus host panel, brunch during Women’s History Month


Elle Bent / Hilltop Views

During a panel on Wednesday, March 9, (left to right) Alison Mohr Boleware from the National Association of Social Workers, Austin City Councilwoman Vanessa Fuentes and IGNITE National’s Southeast Program Director Cydnei Drake answer panel questions as well as student questions from the audience.

Last week, the St. Edward’s chapter of IGNITE hosted a week-long celebration for Women’s History Month. 

“It took a lot of work and time to organize the week of events,“ said Chrissy Munafo, secretary of IGNITE. “But the joy of seeing our community come together in celebration of women made it all worth it.”

The week kicked off Monday night with a movie night in Jones Auditorium. Tuesday’s event was a virtual trivia night on women’s history.

On Wednesday Munafo moderated a panel of women leaders from the community. The panel consisted of Councilwoman Vanessa Fuentes, Alison Mohr Bolewar with the National Association of Social Workers and Ignite National’s Southeast Program Director Cydnei Drake.

“Working for a feminist organzation like IGNITE has really opened my eyes to just how big the gap is,” Drake said during the panel. “Not only women in politics but women leaders. Our business world and schools are behind in leadership positions.”

On Thursday, the organization hosted coloring on Ragsdale lawn, where students were invited to sit and destress with coloring pages. 

IGNITE week ended with a brunch in Mabee Ballroom. Members of IGNITE and Dr. Laurie Heffron, the university’s social work program director helped set up tables adorned with flowers and catering was offered by Bon Appetit for those who attended. 

Dr. Alex Barron, professor of literature and coordinator of the women and gender studies minor, was invited as the main speaker of the morning.

Coming together to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of women leaders ignited so much awe and passion within me,

— Chrissy Munafo

Several others spoke including Dr. Lisa Kirkpatrick and President Monsterrat Fuentes. Several members of IGNITE and Jessica Riley, St. Edward’s alumni and IGNITE Austin fellow, spoke on the successes of the women at St. Edward’s and their leadership.

“Coming together to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of women leaders ignited so much awe and passion within me,” Munafo said.

Throughout the week, the organization also hosted a menstruation drive, with hopes to make menstrual products more accessible in the community. Donation boxes can still be found around campus, including residence halls, and students are encouraged to donate.