Women Rise U.P. for equal opportunity

Sam+Rush%2FNW%0ACHANGE+FOR+SALE%E2%80%94Senior+graphic+design+majors+Maya+Aalsburg+and+Caroline+Harvitt+sell+their+original+work+at+the+Rise+U.P.+event+put+on+by+Public+Relations+Student+Society+of+America+%28PRSSA%29+that+followed+the+women%E2%80%99s+march+on+Jan.+18.+This+is+the+second+year+PRSSA+has+put+on+a+female+empowerment+event+after+the+march.+

Sam Rush/NW CHANGE FOR SALE—Senior graphic design majors Maya Aalsburg and Caroline Harvitt sell their original work at the Rise U.P. event put on by Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) that followed the women’s march on Jan. 18. This is the second year PRSSA has put on a female empowerment event after the march.

Sam Rush and Maggie Duly

Women of all ages marched through the streets of Marquette on Saturday, Jan. 18 to celebrate the rising of women. This year’s women’s march emphasized that women deserve their rights and they need to enforce their equal opportunity. 

The PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) hosted Rise U.P. at Ore Dock Brewing Co. following the march. The female oriented event included all-women artists selling their work, women speakers telling their stories and women empowering women. 

Rise U.P. branched from last year’s similar event that was hosted by PRSSA and held at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. after the march. 

“It started last year as a passion project and the brainchild of a few of our members, and they created a subcommittee within PRSSA,” said Molly Gaudreau, senior public relations major and co-coordinator of Rise U.P. “We do a lot of things: preparing public relations students for the workforce and for the future, but we also encourage them to dream big and put on events and run campaigns that they feel passionate about.”

Weronika A. Kusek, assistant professor of earth, environmental, and geographical sciences, was among the women who spoke at the event. She reflected on past experiences and brought up points about women in different cultures. 

“In 2020 we still have 31 million girls who are denied access to primary education, 17 million of them will never go to school,” Kusek said. “Education is powerful and world leaders know this.”

Kusek grew up in Poland surrounded by powerful women who set the example that she too could pursue a career as a woman successfully. Now she has taken it upon herself to set that example for others. 

Women in first world countries like the U.S. and Poland are often afforded many opportunities in comparison to those in less economically fortunate areas, Kusek said.

“Yes, there are challenges and we have to remember them and we have to work on them, but there are opportunities for us in those countries which an average woman in South Sudan would die for,” Kusek said. 

It is the responsibility of every woman to understand their potential and use it to set out and achieve their goals, Kusek explained. 

“In my everyday life, I meet so many women who do not take the opportunities that they have, they let them slip by. I think about them, and I think that sometimes they are afraid of the risk, sometimes their emotional connections with their families went over the opportunity, sometimes they are simply confused with the conflicting expectations regarding their roles,” Kusek said. “We live in the land of opportunity, but so many feel like these opportunities are not for them.”

Kusek advocates for an emphasis on role models to show women that achieving success in any aspect of life is possible no matter the obstacles. She also strongly encourages awareness which is provided through events like Rise U.P. 

“Community support that can be given to women is very important to have role models, to have women who do great things to show young people, especially students, that they can become these people,” Kusek said.

Promoting creativity and a place for talented young women to grow was another objective of the Rise U.P. event. Senior graphic design major Caroline Harvitt was one of the many female vendors selling art work. 

“It’s cool because it was after the women’s march and everyone gathering together, I like that idea and I love selling things,” Harvitt said. “I know that women love jewelry so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to sell.”

Women supporting other women brings people together for events like Rise U.P. Gaudreau and her co-coordinators senior public relations majors Hannah Johnson and Trysten Coos hope that future PSSRA members continue events like this in the years to come.