October Awareness: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We’ve seen a lot of purple ribbons and rainbow banners this month, but who can forget the pink ribbons (and tee shirts, football jerseys, etc)?

During October it seems like everything is supporting breast cancer with the simple pink ribbon on their label. So it’s easy to fall into he trap of assuming that buying a box of cereal that has a pink ribbon on it is supporting breast cancer awareness. Upworthy wrote an awesome article outlining five organizations that go beyond just raising awareness, and use pink to make a real impact. Here’s what you need to know about supporting organizations during Breast Cancer Awareness month:

  1. Not all organizations are created equal. As the article points out, the pink ribbon is not trademarked. That means anyone can use it without financially supporting any awareness efforts. The ribbon alone raises awareness, but our efforts can’t end there.
  2. More than awareness. Beyond simply raising awareness, your support in October can go towards three other valuable aspects of breast cancer: finding a cure and funding research, providing support networks for survivors and families, and increasing access to early detection methods. When looking for organizations to support, make sure the organizations are making a real impact towards the lives of those affected by breast cancer.
  3. It’s not glamorous. This year there has been an honest conversation about the realities of breast cancer. Survivors are speaking out against things like “No Bra Day” and revealing that radiation and chemotherapy are invasive and scarring procedures. Follow this brave women’s story about her experience with radiation, and consider thoughtful and intentional mechanisms to raise awareness.

We don’t want to discourage you from raising awareness this month! Raising awareness is the first step towards funding more research, providing support, and getting access to early detection methods. Awareness is the first step, but it can’t be the last.

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October Awareness: LGBTQ History Month

In case you missed in, National Coming Out Day was on October 11. The WRC was so excited to support UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center in their event celebrating a day for individuals to come out as part of the LGBTQ community, or as an ally. This day began 27 years ago in Washington DC. It continues to matter because the founders believe in the power of people’s stories, and hope that the more people who come out can help to promote equality in the law.

That’s just one fun fact about LGBTQ History – which is being celebrated this month! But what exactly does this month mean?

In 1994 a high school teacher gathered other educators and community leaders to establish a month to celebrate and teach LGBTQ history. October was the perfect month since National Coming Out Day was already established on October 11, and school is in session around the nation.

LGBTQ History Month celebrates 31 icons over the 31 days of October. Each day a new icon and their contributions, biography, and resources is released. The month is a celebration of LGBTQ Heritage, and provides role models for the community. Through celebrating together, the LGBTQ community strengthens and grows, and continues to make statements about civil rights in the US and internationally.

For more about the 31 icons being celebrated this year, click here. Let us know who your favorite is!

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Impact Ideas: Campus Activities.

For another blog series, we want to share with you what our mentors and menses are doing in the Impact: Mentorship and Leadership Program. We have such a great cohort of young women, and throughout the semester, the mentors will be giving presentations to the rest of the group.

Before Fall Break Aubie presented on Campus Activities and the importance of getting involved. Check out her recap here!

On Friday, September 25th, I presented to mentors and mentees alike. I wanted them to walk away with the idea that Campus Activities are an important piece of the college experience. To do that, I had Debbie Morris, the director of the Student Activities Center, speak for a few minutes about why people should participate in activities. She went over some of her handouts, including the list of chartered groups from the Daily Lobo. I then had the group split up into two mentors and their mentees to go on an expedition around campus to learn about places to get involved, the list was about 20 places like the newly opened Advocacy Center, the SAC, the ASUNM office, and the LGBTQ Center. The expedition went so well because the groups had a fun time exploring campus, taking pictures, and bonding with their cohorts. After the expedition, I went through a simple PowerPoint to teach about the Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why of Campus Activities. The main take away was the last piece: the Why. I boiled it down to 5 F’s: Future, Fun, Free, Food, and Friendship. I wanted each individual to understand that there are benefits outside of simply joining a group. There are so many things that groups provide, from free food and things, to a group of like minded individuals, to a network for your future career. Following this presentation, I hope each viewer finds something that they are interested in to help boost their college experience.

Stay tuned for more ideas from our Impact mentors! Thanks for sharing your experience with us Aubie!

October Awareness: Domestic Violence

October is a busy month! We’re launching a mini series updating you weekly on all the things October celebrates or raises awareness for. Stay tuned for October Awareness posts throughout the month.

October celebrates or raises awareness for the following things:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Domestic Violence Awareness
  • LGBTQ History
  • Hispanic Heritage
  • Bullying Prevention

The list goes on… This month we will share with you each of these days, why it’s important that we celebrate/recognize them, and how you can get involved. Up first: Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

ribbonOne of our events for October is to raise awareness and support survivors of domestic violence. Our care packages will contain clothes and toiletries to donate to women and children at Haven House, a shelter for victims. We are excited to see the different this will make in the lives of women in our community, and invite you to be part of the conversation about domestic violence. We are also thrilled to sponsor Alpha Chi Omega’s event “Step Up and Walk for Women” – more details to come!

The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as:

“as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”

This manifests itself in different forms of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological.

14 dv statDomestic violence is more prevalent in our society than we might realize. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, and one in nine men will also experience this violence. These statistics are startling close, reminding us that domestic violence does not discriminate based on gender (or sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, education, ability…)

But the most surprising statistic we found from the DVRC was that 50% of girls who grow up in an abusive home will also be victims as adults. Domestic violence is ever present and cyclical in our society. We can stop it by raising awareness and ending stigma towards it, advocating and supporting victims and survivors, and educating our society about the problem and inviting them to be advocates as well.

Will you join us? We hope to see you at one of our care package assembly nights!


Why Sabrina?

The Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship has awarded over $24,000 in scholarship to single mother students attending UNM. This year our scholarship application will be available on October 1st, with applications due at the end of January 2016. Awards will be received in the spring.

So why Sabrina?

Sabrina is the name of the daughter of a previous WRC Director, Sandrea. Sandrea was also a single mother. This scholarship was created from a very personal place: as a single mom, Sandrea understood the challenges and trails that are faced with raising a child, attending school, and making ends meet.

According to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 26% students (4.8 million) are parents. Of these, 71% are student mothers, 11% are single dads, and 43% (2 million) are single student mothers.

Almost half of the student parents currently attending higher education are single mothers. We want to support this large percentage of our student community, and provide opportunities for financial stability or assistance through our Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship. Please apply, and refer your single mom friends to apply as well! Multiple scholarships are given out each year!

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Should You Be Concerned About YOUR Heart?

Today is the first information session about our new student lead program, Lobo Women’s Heart Health. A student at the center came to us with this idea and we were on board! The program includes four workshops, each with a specific focus, and the end goal of improving your overall heart health. But you might be thinking, I am healthy and young – I don’t need to worry about my heart health just yet.


According to the US Food and Drug Administration, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women as well as men. So Lobo Women, let’s do something about it!

The Heart Health Program is designed to help you promote a healthier lifestyle for your heart in three ways: managing stress, eating well, and exercising regularly. We are also including a CPR training at the end of the program as our fourth workshop. Along with attending the workshops, participants will receive pacemakers to keep track of daily steps, cookbooks to promote healthier recipes during the program, and a fitness journal to keep track of any changes you notice!

The best part? This program is completely FREE. There is really no excuse to not join us in making our hearts a little bit healthier through simple and fun steps.

Heart Health Workshop Flier


Happy Fall!

The beginning of a new semester and academic year is always an exciting time, full of possibilities and new plans. We’ve been very busy expanding and building new programs to create an exciting selection of activities. It is also a great time to reflect on successes and lessons learned, to say goodbye to people who continue their journeys elsewhere, and welcome new people into our community.

UNM continued to take huge steps toward dealing with sexual violence this past year. We joined forces with other departments and community partners to have a collective voice aimed at compliance, advocacy, response, education. Together over the last few months we have made tremendous strides and are excited to celebrate the opening of Lobo Respect Advocacy Center. Speaking of which, our Gendered Violence Prevention Program graduate assistant, Angela Catena, has accepted the Training and Development Specialist position at the Center! Angela has been one of the strongest voices and advocates on campus in changing the culture to reflect safety, responsible education, prevention, and RESPECT.  We couldn’t be more proud of her!

Our student staff have been busy with their projects this summer! Nandi, our Mentoring and Leadership graduate assistant, has renovated the Impact mentoring program and received such a positive response. I have LOVED getting to know the group of dynamic leaders, and many of the incoming mentees. Mallory, our Marketing Program Assistant, is handling all of our social media, marketing, blog, and newsletter! She has done an incredible job of rejuvenating our online presence and finding creative ways to reach you. We also have a new Women’s Health Program Assistant! Lillian recently took on this new role and was instrumental in adding our 20th lactation station on campus. I’m not sure what we would do without Sandra, our office assistant! She has been busy updating our resources and libraries, as well as assisting and communicating with every student that comes in here. Come by and say hello to her.

Our counselor Sarah is returning to the WRC for her third semester with us! Sarah brings a lot of knowledge, experience, and thoughtfulness to her therapeutic relationships. Connect with us if you are interested in counseling and if we cannot accommodate you we will help you find an appropriate referral!

I’d also like to officially welcome our Administrative Assistant III, Shelley Simms! She started in August and the phrase ‘hitting the ground running’ has never been so apropos. She has worked hard to learn a tremendous amount in a short time and is keeping our center on track and running smoothly.

As many of you know Summer Little, the director of the WRC, has recently resigned. Summer relocated to Florida with her daughter to be near her family. Summer was a tremendous asset to not only this campus, but to our entire community as she worked tirelessly to improve this campus and create a safe space at the WRC that was for everyone. She will be greatly missed, and we wish her luck on her new adventure.

We are also planning new programming for women in STEM and expanding our
programs for men and male allies. Does it sound like we’ve been busy? Yes, we have been. Last year, we had the privilege of making more than 61,000 contacts with our community. Let’s keep it growing – come by to get involved! We always have coffee and tea, condoms, feminine hygiene products, and…a stash of chocolate. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Have a great semester!

~Caitlin Henke