By Cait Kemp
On Thursday, Feb. 9, Distinguished Professor of Humanics Kathy Mangano hosted the capstone event, “Title IX Advocacy in Action,” of her year-long Title IX Humanics project.
Throughout the academic year, Mangano has used her platform as the Humanics professor to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Her project “Title IX at 50: Educate and Advocate,” has helped spread awareness across campus about the landmark law.
At the “Advocacy in Action” event, members of the campus community were welcomed to share their own projects that they organized to assist in Mangano’s mission of teaching the importance of Title IX. Many groups, teams and individuals were involved in carrying out their own projects and presented in the Dodge Room Thursday evening.
“I am elated by the turnout because there are 17, 18 projects here that are going to help educate every person that goes by,” Mangano said.
The field hockey team showcased the Title IX game that they hosted in the fall. For their home game against Gordon College, they invited Dottie Zenaty and Chickie Poisson, two field hockey legends, to attend and take part in the pregame rituals.
The announcer spoke about Title IX at the start of the game, and at the conclusion of the contest, the team was joined by youth field hockey players for a quick clinic and scrimmage. The project both reflected on the history of women’s sports as well as worked to grow the game.
“We learned about the history of our program and the incredible leaders that represented SCFH before us,” junior midfielder Emma Robinson said.
Similarly, the softball team attended nine elementary schools to practice with youth softball teams and give an informative Title IX lesson to the girls.
“It taught us that youth don’t have as much of an education on the matter,” senior outfielder Margaret Britt said. “They should put it into school systems and talk about it more at a younger age.”
The team agreed that their project seemed to make an impact on the youth teams, especially the opportunity for them to learn from a collegiate program that they look up to.
Athletics is a big part of Title IX, but not the only part. Projects explored other aspects of the law, such as parenting, gender issues, the LGBTQ+ community and more.
Public Health major Rishi Lamichhane worked on a project titled, “Pregnancy and Parenting Under Title IX at Springfield College.” His presentation showed an informational poster that displayed accommodations that the College has for students that may be pregnant or parents.
“I was in a Y club meeting where Erin Leeper was invited to talk about Title IX, and she talked about STEM, athletics and all of those fields,” Lamichhane said. “She mentioned that Title IX talks about pregnancy and parenting and as a public health major, I did not know that.”
He was inspired to dig deeper into this topic after learning about the scope of Title IX and that it does so much more than just within athletics. He believed that this information was important to share because it is not as well-known as perhaps some of the other features of the campus.
“I thought that since I as a student don’t know that, there would be so many other students that wouldn’t know about the resources,” he said. “I think it’s helpful to bring this topic to light since now Roe v. Wade is overturned. Knowing about the resources on campus as a student is really important as well.”
Erin Leeper, the College’s Title IX Coordinator, was to see the variety of topics being presented. The Humanics project has allowed her to get involved and inform students about what she does so that students are aware of the resources her office provides.
“I do think that, over time, our understanding of Title IX has shifted,” Leeper said. “There used to be so much focus on Title IX and athletics, and a lot of my work now focuses on Title IX as it relates to sexual violence, but we also have some students here who did projects on gender identity, how that relates to athletics and sexual violence as well, so its cool to see students pick a project that they are passionate about and what relates to their interest but can also connect it to what Title IX is all about.”
Mangano was proud of the event and the way students showed up for their Title IX advocacy projects. After working toward this goal to spread the importance of Title IX, she was honored to see how the community bought into her idea.
Her goal was to not only talk about Title IX, but bring more awareness to the law and help the community to understand the past, present and future of what it means. This goal, coupled with her encouragement for students to participate directly in the project, gave everyone a chance to get involved and understand the greater significance that Title IX has brought to the nation.
“I think the most important thing is action, and that’s the whole thing when I think about educating and advocating it’s taking action,” Mangano said. “I think that is a very key component of Humanics. My focus is not to just educate and advocate this year, I want it beyond. That’s my hope.”
Photo Courtesy Springfield College