Coffee Chat stirs up discussion on women

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Coffee Chat stirs up discussion on women

Sisam Shrestha

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Coffee, fresh beignets and the ULM Women’s Symposium team was all it took to get female students and faculty eager to talk.

The symposium hosted its first fall event, “Coffee Chat,” Thursday morning, promoting thought-provoking discussion topics that concerned women empowerment, social equality and better communication skills.

The symposium had 12 table leaders from various fields of occupations, who together conducted discussions ranging from gender stereotyping, the social importance of volunteerism and ways to bridge generation gaps.

A list of recommended board books and podcasts from the women’s symposium members were handed to attendees at the beginning.

According to Brooke Foy, a VAPA assistant professor and Coffee Chat table leader, the symposium was very relevant for today’s society.

“We can benefit a lot from hearing each other’s opinions,” Foy said. “Someone giving us a question to have to think about will allow us to be open minded to talk about it and just bounce ideas off. It’s invaluable to our lives.”

Many of the attendees were active participants in the symposium and Femhawk series last semester.

Among them was Bridget Garner, a sophomore social work major.

“The toughest question for me was how to get generations together,” Garner said. “Past generations and younger generations always have different ideologies…I never thought we could blend together.”

Nirali Patel, a senior secondary education major, said the main purpose of attending the symposium was to learn from powerful women in the community who had started from the bottom and worked themselves to be leaders in their respective fields.

“It’s important for us to realize that it’s okay to be outspoken, it’s okay to be assertive and not to feel afraid of people thinking that you are being judgemental,” Patel said. “When you are standing for your rights, for your beliefs, it’s okay.”

Patel  considered herself lucky to be at a table where two ULM staff members had the best advice to give female students concerning working in a male dominate competitive field.

“Knowing that I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do in life just yet, it’s pretty awesome to hear from women who have accomplished what they want to accomplish and are both in leadership positions here on campus,” Patel said.

The event ended with gift certificates for some lucky participants.

Although the symposium holds its main events during the spring semester, there is a chance for a few more programs this semester.