PHOTO CAPTION: Members of Ferris State University's Social Work Association, a registered student organization staff a table at the University Center, promoting the Feb. 8 presentation of The Vagina Monologues. The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Williams Auditorium, with a pre-show celebration starting at 6 p.m. SWA students have been gathering bras in support of an international nonprofit that offers assistance to victims of sex trafficking.
The episodic play The Vagina Monologues returns to Ferris State University’s Williams Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 8, as a five-star campus event and fundraiser for the Women’s Information Service, Inc. (WISE).
Social Work Program Director Wendy Samuels said students in the Social Work Association, a registered student organization are in their third year coordinating the production. Another organization on campus had brought The Vagina Monologues to campus and presented the play annually before concluding their involvement prior to 2016.
“Every year’s presentation is different as there are a full cache of monologues allowing the director and actors to shape their show,” Samuels said. “There have been arrangements with a focus on women’s empowerment, human trafficking and dialogues along the line of the #metoo movement are very likely. It is a continually-relevant production.”
There will be a pre-show celebration beginning at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the Williams Auditorium, with the presentation scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Admission to The Vagina Monologues is free, but Samuels said a $10 donation, from audience members, is appreciated.
“Ninety percent of what comes in will be passed along to WISE, which offers crisis intervention in cases of domestic violence and support services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence to Mecosta, Osceola and Newaygo county residents,” Samuels said. “As a former board member for the Service, I know they get by on a shoestring budget, so any help they receive is welcomed and appreciated.”
The SWA is following the recommendations of the V-Day global activist movement, which asks that the remaining 10 percent of proceeds be contributed to Spotlight Campaign: The Resistance. The national nonprofit indicates this is the 20th anniversary of V-Day celebrations, which seek to end violence against women and girls. Additionally, Social Work Association students staffed an information table in the University Center on four dates in January offering promotional materials for the Feb. 6 event, while collecting donated bras for FreeTheGirls.org, an international nonprofit. Used bras are sold in developing nations, to benefit those who were victimized by sex trafficking in that country. The last outreach session for the SWA will be on Feb. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Social Work Association’s 2017 presentation of the Vagina Monologues raised $1,200.
The Vagina Monologues presentation is sponsored by Ferris’ Title IX Office, Active Minds, a nonprofit focused on awareness of mental health issues among college students, the university's Office of Multicultural Student Services and the Phi Alpha Social Work honor society. Student Activity Fund support has also been extended to the event.
Anyone with a disability wishing to attend the presentation is asked to contact Samuels by phone at (231) 591-5896 or by email at least 72 hours in advance of the event.