Womxn of Colour Network to hold annual spring retreat


Womxn of Colour Network

Womxn of Colour Network’s annual spring retreat will take place April 1 and registration is currently open.

As this year’s retreat for women of color nears, Women of Colour Network (WOCN) works to create a day centered on the theme of renaissance. The student-planned retreat will focus on looking back at histories, building collective experiences and overcoming challenges through various activities.

“This retreat is very special to our executive board because usually it is planned by an entire faculty team,” a representative from WOCN said. “This year we, as four undergrads, have taken on the mission to provide such a great experience for the women of color on campus because we know how important it was to us and our past members.”

Registration for the retreat is free. The retreat will also include lunch and an afternoon snack along with catering to dietary restrictions.

“In 2011, a small group of women of color participated in a campus event that, while well-intentioned, left them with a clear message that the event was not created with their needs in mind,” the representative from WOCN said.

This experience led the group of women to find a way to create opportunities that addressed the experiences of women of color and encouraged them to participate in Iowa State’s broader community Felix said.

In July 2011, WOCN was officially formed through a grant and has since provided programming for undergraduate and graduate women of color.

The retreat was formed based on the goals of WOCN and, according to Felix, has since been a pillar of the organization.

Felix said one of the main goals of the event is to remind women of color that a safe space exists for them to come to.

This goal relates to the foundation of the organization and retreat as a place to address the lack of support systems and community that women of color needed at Iowa State, a predominantly white university.

The event is also open to those who have never attended an organization meeting.

“We want to provide our participants with a moment to breathe surrounded by love, compassion and motivation,” the representative from WOCN said. “It’s a great introduction into the network and gives a preview of what it’s like at our meetings and events.”

To determine what activities will take place at the retreat, WOCN created a survey to ask members of the organization what they were interested in doing.

Felix said members expressed a lot of interest in sessions relating to professional, personal and academic development. WOCN plans to collaborate with various women of color and women-centered organizations and presenters to create workshops to help navigate Iowa State and life, in general.

“I’m really excited to just spend time with such an amazing group of people,” the representative from WOCN said. “The WOCN retreat has always been one of the highlights of my time here, and it’s been extremely impactful for me.”