‘Vagina Monologues’ students reach fundraising milestone

April 21, 2008

This year, students who performed, produced and directed “The Vagina Monologues” raised more than $5,000 for charity, bringing the total over five years to more than $20,000. They gave most of it to Family and Children’s Services of Carroll County, to be earmarked for the Safe House, which lost much of its public funding last year. Other profits were donated to the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County and the V-Day Campaign.

“It’s a way you feel you can help,” says Christine Frieman ’08, who co-directed with Eric Danforth ’08. “Helping people is not completely unselfish. There’s such camaraderie with all the women who do this. You realize you’re not alone.”

“The Vagina Monologues,” written by Eve Ensler, is in its 10th year of production. To date, the V-Day Campaign, a global non-profit that supports anti-violence groups, has raised more than $50 million through benefit productions worldwide. This year, more than 45 students participated in the show.

Audience members are allowed to cheer, clap and yell during the production, which is comprised of funny and poignant monologues. At the end of each performance, a sexual abuse survivor tells her story to the audience.

“It’s an interesting community-building experience in the theatre,” says Kristen McGeeney ’10. “It brings it all together at the end when some of the women share their experiences.”

Though the students who take part in the show tell different stories about its personal meaning in their lives, most agree that it has impacted them greatly. Rachel Goonan ’08 has performed every year of her college career.

“I was horribly shy, and it helped me overcome that,” she said. “It’s opened me up to different things. It’s something to be very proud of.”

Psychology major Carla Schwager ’09, who wants to become a sex therapist, says that it raises critical awareness of an often-repressed sexuality.

“Being part of a group that stands for sexual liberation and not being afraid to explore womanhood sends the message that it’s ok to be sexual,” says Schwager. “We’re reclaiming power over our bodies.”

English major Whitney Opdahl ’08 says it adds perspective to her student-designed Women’s Studies minor.

“It’s such an important historical study,” Opdahl says of the monologues. “This is still a fight, and we’re still fighting.”

On the flip side, the College has for two years put on the production “Cocktales,” a monologue show written and performed by male students. The money raised during these productions benefits Family and Children’s Services of Carroll County and the Boys’ Home Society of Baltimore.

“The whole idea of doing a male version is to cover a diverse array of topics and approach them thoughtfully,” says Assistant Professor of Biology Greg Szulgit. “Often people comment that they’re expecting it to be a juvenile reaction to the ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ but the point is to work hand in hand with them.”

To learn more about the V-Day Campaign, click here: http://v10.vday.org/homepage

To learn more about Children and Family Services of Carroll County, click here: http://www.fcsmd.org/locations/westminsterOffice.htm

To learn more about the Boys Home Society of Baltimore, click here: http://www.boyshomesociety.org/

To learn more about the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, click here: http://www.rapecrisiscc.org/