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The second annual State of Wisconsin Girls Summit at Alverno College is moved to October 10, but girls who want to get involved can take part in activities now. The activities are designed to get girls thinking about what it means to be a girl in America today. Designed in collaboration with a local artist and graphic designer, Lauren Medina, the activity pages offer girls opportunities to explore their leadership, values, heroes and identity. “This summer, girls are more isolated and lacking in typical summer engagement opportunities,” said Jodi Eastberg, PhD, executive director of the Research Center for Women and Girls. “We want to do our part to provide girls with positive activities that help them to think about their own leadership and identities.”
The reimagined State of Wisconsin Girls Summit will be a virtual program. The new concept emphasizes the health and safety of attendees while also providing an engaging and purposeful experience. Happening the same weekend as the International Day of the Girl, the summit will convene thought leaders and inspiring voices to encourage girls to become more civically engaged and develop their leadership skills.
Twelve-year-old Mari Copeny, known as Little Miss Flint because of her activism around the water crisis in Flint, Mich., will be the keynote speaker. In May 2016, when Copeny was 8 years old, she wrote a letter to President Barack Obama detailing the water crisis in her hometown and challenging him to visit. The president visited Flint and subsequently authorized $100 million to repair the city’s water system. Copeny’s activism made national news, and she has been using her voice to fight for social justice since.
The State of Wisconsin Girls Summit is an opportunity for girls, community leaders, agencies that serve girls and the general public to have thoughtful, productive conversations and celebrate the contributions of girls to our community. The event will begin with Copeny’s keynote address. There will also be a panel of girls who are working for change in our community, and a panel discussion with women serving as government officials.
“We continue to be committed to hearing directly from girls in Wisconsin in order to inform our research agenda in an effort to improve the lives of girls in our state,” said Eastberg. “We know from our research that girls are more likely to be civically engaged, to vote when they come of age and to volunteer, but they are far less likely to imagine themselves running for office or to consider government office as a desirable profession or goal. We are hopeful that through participation in the Girls Summit and engagement with our activity book, they will imagine themselves as leaders and ultimately will be inspired to run for office or serve in government.”
The summer activities are available online at alverno.edu/research/girlssummit and on the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast website at gswise.org/en/Activities. Hard copies of the activities may also be picked up at Arts @ Large, located at 1100 South 5th Street in Milwaukee. For more information and to register for the Girls Summit, visit alverno.edu/research/girlssummit. Organizations interested in distributing the activity sheets should contact the Alverno College Research Center for Women & Girls at Research.Center@Alverno.edu.
Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast are partners of the event, and sponsors to date include the Dr. Mary Ann Schwartz & Dr. Richard Brewer Endowed Speaker Series, the Brewers Community Foundation and Catalyst Construction.
About Alverno College
Founded in 1887 by the School Sisters of St. Francis, Alverno College promotes the academic, personal and professional development of its students in a collaborative and inclusive environment. Undergraduate programs for women are offered in more than 60 areas of study, and graduate programs in education, nursing, community psychology, school psychology, music therapy, music and liturgy, and business are open to women and men.
A leader in higher education innovation, Alverno has earned international accolades for its highly effective ability-based, assessment-as-learning approach to education, which emphasizes hands-on experience and develops in-demand skills. The college, Wisconsin’s first Hispanic-Serving Institution, ranks among the top schools in the Midwest for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and innovation by U.S. News & World Report. For the past two years, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education named Alverno the country’s most inspiring college.
Based in Milwaukee, Wis., Alverno College is a four-year independent, Catholic, liberal arts college.