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Gender-Inclusive Women’s Retreat a Hit

Lianna Brown, Associate News Editor

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Dickinson’s seventh annual retreat was attended by nearly 20 Dickinsonians, who gathered at the gender inclusive weekend of comradery at Dickinson’s farm. 

Dickinson’s seventh annual Women’s Retreat was hosted by the Women’s Gender and Resource Center and was attended by about 12 students, five staff members and two professors.

Jessica Libowitz ’15 organized the first Women’s Retreat, and said her original goal for the event was “that it would become an annual gathering of students, faculty, staff, and even alumni (eventually) to provide a safe space for all women-identified Dickinsonians — inclusive of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary members — to come together for dialogues and workshops on identity, health, self-care, barriers, national and global trends.”

This year, participants helped out on the farm, then faculty and staff members came to the retreat to host workshops with students on Saturday. “Professor Dragone of American studies beautifully presented us with information on two inspir[ing] Native women who are making real change in their communities, and it fit so well with this year’s retreat theme of storytelling, resistance and womxn uniting,” said Angelica Mishra ’19, using a spelling of the word “women” to “signal gender-inclusivity,” said Bickford, director of the women’s and gender resource center.

“We always try to message that in our publicity and so as another way to indicate that, the students this year decided that, so rather than spelling “women’s” the way we usually spell it, we would spell it,” with an “x,” said Bickford.

This year’s participants traveled to the College Farm Friday night and spent the night getting to know the other participants and eating dinner at the farm. Bickford said that participants “do some ice breakers, things like that and students sleep in the yurts and then in the morning we have breakfast and start our day.”

The retreat ended with the women making collages “followed by an introductory self-defense class with Professor [of History Karl] Qualls Dickinson’s seventh annual retreat was attended by nearly 20 Dickinsonians, who gathered at the gender inclusive weekend of comradery at Dickinson’s farm. 

Dickinson’s seventh annual Women’s Retreat was hosted by the Women’s Gender and Resource Center and was attended by about 12 students, five staff members and two professors.

Jessica Libowitz ’15 organized the first Women’s Retreat, and said her original goal for the event was “that it would become an annual gathering of students, faculty, staff, and even alumni (eventually) to provide a safe space for all women-identified Dickinsonians — inclusive of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary members — to come together for dialogues and workshops on identity, health, self-care, barriers, national and global trends.” 

This year, participants helped out on the farm, then faculty and staff members came to the retreat to host workshops with students on Saturday. “Professor Dragone of American studies beautifully presented us with information on two inspir[ing] Native women who are making real change in their communities, and it fit so well with this year’s retreat theme of storytelling, resistance and womxn uniting,” said Angelica Mishra ’19, using a spelling of the word “women” to “signal gender-inclusivity,” said Bickford, director of the women’s and gender resource center.

“We always try to message that in our publicity and so as another way to indicate that, the students this year decided that, so rather than spelling “women’s” the way we usually spell it, we would spell it,” with an “x,” said Bickford.

This year’s participants traveled to the College Farm Friday night and spent the night getting to know the other participants and eating dinner at the farm. Bickford said that participants “do some ice breakers, things like that and students sleep in the yurts and then in the morning we have breakfast and start our day.”

The retreat ended with the women making collages “followed by an introductory self-defense class with Professor [of History Karl] Qualls…who showed us cool and useful tricks for different situations,” Mishra said. “Overall, I think we all bonded and had a good time cooking together, talking and getting to have a day off campus.” 

“[O]ne of my favorite parts of the retreat was the self-defense lesson we had, I believe it gave us some good ideas of what to do if we ever end up in a bad situation,” Tyler Barlow ’22, another participant, said. 

There is some movement to bring back a men’s retreat in the future, as “there apparently used to be a men’s retreat too, but it kind of faded into oblivion,” Bickford said. 

Libowitz said in a blog post, “It took me a year and a half (and several misfires) to build the right team, the right format, and the right interest to pull off Dickinson College’s first ever women’s retreat.” The first one took place from April 20-21 in 2013. 

“[The Women’s Retreat is] an opportunity for some people to do some community building at a stressful time in the semester and get off campus… and we do a little debrief during our dinner [on Saturday] and we got some really positive feedback about the things that they liked and would like to do next year, so we will take that into consideration when we do our planning,” Bickford said. 

“I really loved the retreat!” said Jordyn Dean ’22. “I loved getting to pet the lamb [at the College Farm] and meeting all the wonderful girls and people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It was really fun and definitely worth the last-minute sign up.” 

The 2019 Women’s Retreat took place April 5-6 on the College Farm and was hosted by the Women’s and Gender Resource Center and was organized by Mishra, Madeleine Jones ’19, Ariel Li ’19 and Jordyn Schwartz ’21. 

who showed us cool and useful tricks for different situations,” Mishra said. “Overall, I think we all bonded and had a good time cooking together, talking and getting to have a day off campus.” 

“[O]ne of my favorite parts of the retreat was the self-defense lesson we had, I believe it gave us some good ideas of what to do if we ever end up in a bad situation,” Tyler Barlow ’22, another participant, said. 

There is some movement to bring back a men’s retreat in the future, as “there apparently used to be a men’s retreat too, but it kind of faded into oblivion,” Bickford said. 

Libowitz said in a blog post, “It took me a year and a half (and several misfires) to build the right team, the right format, and the right interest to pull off Dickinson College’s first ever women’s retreat.” The first one took place from April 20-21 in 2013. 

“[The Women’s Retreat is] an opportunity for some people to do some community building at a stressful time in the semester and get off campus… and we do a little debrief during our dinner [on Saturday] and we got some really positive feedback about the things that they liked and would like to do next year, so we will take that into consideration when we do our planning,” Bickford said. 

“I really loved the retreat!” said Jordyn Dean ’22. “I loved getting to pet the lamb [at the College Farm] and meeting all the wonderful girls and people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It was really fun and definitely worth the last-minute sign up.” 

The 2019 Women’s Retreat took place April 5-6 on the College Farm and was hosted by the Women’s and Gender Resource Center and was organized by Mishra, Madeleine Jones ’19, Ariel Li ’19 and Jordyn Schwartz ’21. 

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Gender-Inclusive Women’s Retreat a Hit