The Women’s Leadership Institute is essential to the Mills mission: to educate women for leadership and civic engagement. A lot of work has already gone into growing the Institute and Mills cannot afford to waste that potential. Let’s stop reinventing the wheel every few years and support programs that prove their worth like WLI.
I joined WLI as a junior because I saw an opportunity to grow confidence in my ability to lead. I stayed in WLI, using my personal time to attend leadership workshops and work on my portfolio because I saw the potential to be part of a growing network of women leaders.
I have come to realize that part of being a leader is making difficult decisions. The administration is in a tough position. The economic depression is having an effect on all of us. My hope is that the administration will listen to the Mills student body’s reaction to its budget decisions because, ultimately, we are talking about students losing educational opportunities.
The impact of WLI extends even further than educational opportunities though. WLI also contributes greatly to campus culture, which is, frankly, in need of help. In general, Mills events have been poorly attended, but WLI has brought unique events that cross disciplinary boundaries and bring students together. This year’s Election night Pajama Party had upwards of 200 attendees and we think our spring event will be just as successful. This Spring WLI will put on a Women’s History Month event looking at gender as a performance. We hope this will be just one step in an ongoing discussion around gender at Mills, a topic given less attention than it deserves at a gender-diverse college like Mills.
Losing WLI means wasting the accumulation of potential which Director Daphne Muse has poured herself into for the past four years. It also means Daphne will leave Mills. Her direction and guidance all over Mills will be the greatest loss of all.
-Jennifer Smith, senior
Editor’s Note: This piece was referenced in two other opinions pieces written by WLI scholars on the program’s announced cancellation, and which appeared in the Dec. 8, 2008 issue of The Campanil.