Women’s Resource Center hosts auction

Kristen Thompson

Steuernagel remembered for her activism

Kent State’s Women’s Resource Center hosted its Scholarship Reception and Silent Auction last night in the Student Center Ballroom.

The Women’s Resource Center raised money to award two undergraduate women scholarships this year.

“We’ve been doing this for about 10 years,” said Vicki Bocchicchio, advisory board member and auction chair. “We have a good list of people on campus as well as in the community. We sent letters out to friends and local businesses for donations.”

Donations put up for auction included jewelry, artwork, gift baskets, homemade crocheted afghans, scarves, Kent State athletic gear, gift certificates to local businesses and more.

The auction is the Center’s biggest benefit of the year. Classical music is performed as guests chatted over buffet tables of gourmet food and wine.

“We are showing our support to students as this event supports student scholarships,” said Kristin Losey, academic adviser in the College of Business.

Mary Reeves, director of University Health Services and Student Accessibility Services, is an advocate for women’s health issues. A keynote speaker in honor of Women’s History Month, Reeves paid tribute to the history of the Women’s Resource Center, as well as the struggles women have endured to get where they are today.

“I wanted Mother Teresa’s soul, Aretha Franklin’s voice and Tina Turner’s legs,” joked Reeves. “I am honored to be a part of the Women’s Resource Center.”

The silent auction had a special honoree for Women’s History Month.

“This year scholarships will be awarded in honor of Trudy Steuernagel,” Bocchicchio said in her speech.

Steuernagel was the founder of the women’s studies program at Kent State and helped begin the Women’s Resource Center in 1996.

“It was women like Trudy who made my career possible,” said Molly Merryman, justice studies professor at the Kent State Trumbull Campus. “It was women like her who truly set the stage.”

Merryman said Steuernagel worked in the field of women’s studies without pay for a long time, financing it from her own pockets.

“This is what activists do. They do things because they matter,” Merryman said. “This is the legacy Trudy leaves here at Kent State.”

When the Women’s Resource Center opened, Merryman asked Steuernagel what supplies she would need. Steuernagel sat completely still, moved to tears, Merryman said.

“Trudy said, ‘My entire career I have done out of my pocket everything for women’s studies. What has happened here is women finally matter. We finally have power. We finally make a difference,'” Merryman said. “We became dear friends.”

Merryman said women need to continue working hard to complete what others have already fought for. She said women wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for people like Steuernagel who truly make a difference.

“The Women’s Resource Center is a legacy that connects us to our ancestors,” Merryman said.

Contact student life reporter Kristen Thompson at [email protected].