vdayWhile the annual student production of The Vagina Monologues is informative, inspirational, eye-opening and entertaining, it also serves an invaluable purpose long after the curtain closes on the performance. Funds raised through the production help women in need of assistance.

This year’s Vagina Monologues, performed on February 12, raised the bar considerably on its own fundraising success. Through ticket sales and a fundraising campaign, Smith’s V-Day chapter raised more than $8,000 for its beneficiary, Safe Passage Northampton, reports Camilla Claiborn ’11, co-producer of the event. It’s the most money ever raised through the event. The Smith V-Day chapter also made a contribution to the national V-Day campaign with funds raised.

Safe Passage is a nonprofit organization that provides support, advocacy and a place to live for women—and their children—who are victims of domestic abuse and violence.

“Safe Passage has been doing amazing work in Northampton and Western Massachusetts for years,” said Claiborn. “Its mission resonated with the mission of the V-Day campaign and The Vagina Monologues to end violence against women.”

The Vagina Monologues is a play by Eve Ensler, first produced 13 years ago, that has grown into V-Day, an international movement focused on helping women wherever they are oppressed. (Read about this year’s production.)

Claiborn, who has been involved in The Vagina Monologues since arriving on campus, and for several years with her high school’s productions, has long been inspired by the play’s message, she said. “I have always loved women and women’s organizing movements, but through V-Day I learned to be an activist and advocate for women’s issues. It has driven me to work toward an end to violence against women through many avenues.”

Partly for its fundraising success, the Smith V-Day chapter received this year’s Student Leadership Award for Programming Excellence.

Claiborn has confidence that her successors will continue the V-Day fundraising success. “We hope to raise the bar for next year’s performance,” she said, “and the 2011-12 production team is more than capable of carrying on this success.”