January 13, 2003
Smith Videotape Screening
Revisits Discussion of "Public Conscience"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-What do a feminist
activist, a syndicated columnist, the head of an organization
that distributes 16 million pounds of food to the hungry annually
and a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal have in common? Answer:
Their Smith College education.
These four women-Gloria Steinem, Molly Ivins, Julia Erickson
and Katrina Gardner-were joined by fellow Smith alumnae Shirley
Sagawa, White House staffer from the Clinton administration,
and Linda Charles of the Ford Foundation for a discussion of
Smith's role as a "private college with a public conscience"
during the inauguration festivities in October for Smith's tenth
president, Carol Christ.
A videotape of the program, held before an overflow audience,
will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m. in Wright Hall Auditorium
at Smith College. The event is open free to the public.
Among the topics explored by the women, who represented nearly
50 years of Smith history, was the evolution of the term public
service, which varied according to the decade in which the speaker
attended the college. According to Steinem, who graduated from
Smith in the mid-1950s, public service meant volunteerism and
carried with it an aura of privilege. "It's now clearly
attached to all the sex, race and class issues that affect us
every day. So it feels like a huge, huge difference," said
Julia Erickson, who graduated from Smith in 1980 and whose New
York City organization, City Harvest, feeds 195,000 hungry men,
women and children every week, said that while at Smith, her
idea of public service was to be deeply involved in campus life
and so, when she moved to New York, she wanted to be deeply involved
in community work there as well.
During the program, the panelists addressed other topics related
to their years at Smith and aspects of the "public conscience"
they developed during those years.
The videotape showing is open free to the public.