The Women’s and Diversity Center put on two events, back to back as a send-off for students to enjoy their spring break.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s during one of the most intense and tumultuous times in the women’s rights movement. It has fluctuated between days in February to March, but it appears to have settled on March 8. United States President Barack Obama has also declared March to be Women’s History Month. The holiday and history month proclamation will help bring light to previously unknown achievements.

The Women’s and Diversity Center celebrated International Women’s Day by holding a potluck. Students, staff, and faculty were able to relax and eat delicious food starting at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8. The snow stopped falling just before the event started, which helped Dr. Melanie Wilson who was grilling the hamburgers and hot dogs just outside the door.

Guests helped themselves to sugar cookie bars, spicy baked beans, popcorn, and pretzels. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed as people chose seats and chatted with new people.

Chancellor Dr. Frank Ayers and Debbie Ayers celebrated International Women’s Day at the center and had a great time conversing with the students and staff. They were very supportive of the celebration and thanked Dr. Wilson for hosting it.

Christine Dihl of the Planned Parenthood in Prescott Valley, Ariz. gave an informational and fun presentation on the varying forms of birth control on Thursday, March 7. Lilith Matthews, program associate at the Women’s and Diversity Center, organized the information luncheon for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students. Dihl hosted an hour long interactive explanation of the effectiveness of varying contraceptives to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

The birth control session began with Dihl explaining some rules for every participant to understand and follow. The rules focused on not sharing personal stories and being respectful. People were invited to excuse themselves if the content made them too uncomfortable to continue.
Birth control options range from the pill, male condoms, female condoms, the ring, the shot, intrauterine devices, tubal ligation, abstinence, and “natural” family planning. Dihl explained all of them and showed the guests examples of each.

Dihl also talked about Plan B, the morning after pill. Dihl dispelled the myth that Plan B is an abortion pill. It will not have an influence if a woman is already pregnant. Its nickname of “the abortion pill” is misleading and promotes continued ignorance of birth control.

A pregnancy is the result of sperm, an egg, and a “home”. Birth control works by taking at least one of those factors out of the sexual experience. Abstinence, Dihl emphasized, remains the only 100 percent sure way of protecting oneself against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This, of course, excludes the situations of rape in which either condition poses a threat. Dihl only covered ways to avoid pregnancy, and did not include any post-fertilization advice.

Lunch was provided by Matthews. Along with cake, popcorn, and salad, there was cake. Her chocolate cake was a stunning display of creativity and visual hilarity. Matthews used four boxes of cake mix to create a sheet cake with mini cupcakes representing birth control pills. The days of the week were written in frosting at the top.

“It’s crucial for women to have this primary healthcare information,” said Dr. Melanie Wilson, director of the Women’s and Diversity Center. The more people who are aware of their options and the truths of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, the more people who can make educated health decisions.

“It was a great success, and we hope to do it again in the future,” exclaimed Matthews. Planned Parenthood presents informational sessions in the region and is open to anyone who needs health care information or health services.

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