The organizers behind the Vagina Monologues: meet the co-directors


Portrait by Emily Urban

“I think having these events definitely brings people out and kind of brings awareness to all of those diversity issues and kind of breaks people out of their shell,” said Reed Blanchard, Multicultural and Awareness co-director. Blanchard took over as co-director this semester. 

Emily Urban

The Student Union Board, in charge of organizing events like the Vagina Monologues has two new Multicultural Awareness co-directors.

Diego Bonilla and Reed Blanchard both applied for directorial positions at SUB in October 2018.

Bonilla, vice president of administration, handled the finances. Blanchard was brand new to SUB and applied for a different position. Starting this semester, both began their new position in Multicultural Awareness for SUB.

Bonilla, a sophomore in event management, has been involved with SUB since the first semester of his freshman year. He has been able to help plan and volunteer at SUB events ranging from Cyclone Cinema, ISU AfterDark, Grandma Mojo’s and Open Mic Night. His recent transition was from the role of Vice President of Administration where he managed finances.

“I think something that is cool about SUB is that they do so much programming in a very different feel, so like movies, concerts, comedian acts, special events like this or an AfterDark,” Bonilla said. “I think that is really cool for me as an event management major to just plan or at least help out in planning those kind of events. It is really cool to see all of the aspects of the event management field.”

Blanchard, a sophomore majoring in German, began volunteering at SUB this fall. He quickly became very active in the organization. What started as an avenue to meet more friends became something he enjoyed doing, eventually applying for a director position in October of 2018.

“I think I try to be empathetic to all kinds of people and welcoming, inclusive, all of that kind of stuff,” Blanchard said on why he believes he was chosen. “Those kind of stuff I try to be for other people. Maybe they got a hint on that.”

This semester, the co-directors worked long and hard organizing the Vagina Monologues and the Global Gala. These events are annual and take up most of the co-directors’ time.

Kelly Freeman, the graduate adviser for SUB who oversees the Multicultural Awareness directorship, says they have been sitting in on meetings before they began their positions.

“It is definitely like a full time work for them,” Freeman said. “They put in some heavy lifting.”

The two co-directors have their own reasons why they love their job. Freeman said that is exactly what SUB wants from their directors. Along with the application process starting in October, SUB decides which applicants would work well together, often contrasting strengths.

“We try to make sure that they complement each other well, and I think Reed and Diego have done a fantastic job of that so far,” Freeman said. “They are really on top of it with Vagina Monologues. I send them an email to get something done like a list of tasks and by the end of the night they are already like ‘We’ve done it.’ so it is really great.”

This spring semester the two are able to plan events tailored to what they want to see from Multicultural Awareness at SUB. Freeman helps them organize the events, but it is ultimately up to the co-directors to decide what events they want to bring to Iowa State.

“I would love to see more of a diverse kind of events coming here,” Bonilla said. “Just something that is even more unique like the Tibetan Monks we had last semester, because that was pretty unique. I had never seen anything like that. I think people who attended it looked through it over the week, they seemed to enjoy it too. So something more diverse, something more out there.”

“Next fall semester I am really hoping to either maybe get some events going surrounding mental illness or LGBT kind of stuff,” Blanchard said. “Bring awareness to those kind of things.”

The events come from the co-directors of Multicultural Awareness are the Vagina Monologues held in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union Thursday, Feb. 14 starting at 7 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 15 starting at 6 p.m. The Global Gala will be held Friday, Mar. 29 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.