Women Enriching Women
The very first women's conference was in March of 2010 to coincide with "International Women's Day." It was called "R&R for women" - R&R standing for "reconnecting and reaching out." The Bluffton University Women's Council realized they did not have any women-centric events. The summer golf outing was mostly men and at Homecoming, there was the football breakfast.
So, they wanted to bring women together for R&R and tell them about this new mission of the Women's Council, which was to financially support undergraduate women who want to attend a professional conference. They had several of those students speak at the first R&R. That first event was held in Ropp Hall Pit and there was a boxed lunch. Twenty women attended. The gathering was from 12-4 p.m. and included campus tours, an informational session on Facebook and Twitter and ended with a recital by Lucia Unrau in Yoder.
Now the conference day is from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in mid-April and features professional speakers and regularly hosts 65-75 women attendees. This year alumnae and friends enjoyed sessions exploring the effects of stress on our bodies and learning how to reduce that stress. "I learned how stressed I really am," said one attendee at the 2016 Women Enriching Women conference. "This event was so helpful and insightful on stress and depression/anxiety and the benefits of mindfulness."
The theme of the 2016 women's conference was "Mindful Living: Moment by Moment." The women’s conference aimed to educate women on the effects of stress on our bodies, and how we can reduce that stress through the practice of mindfulness behaviors. Some of these behaviors include:
- Breathing deeply (10 counts in, 10 counts out)
- Healthy nourishment (plenty of water and healthy food choices)
- Exercising a minimum of 30 minutes 3x/week
- Getting good sleep
- Taking breaks at work and doing some Yoga stretching and deep breathing
- Walking more and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature
- Coloring (or knitting or jigsaw puzzles), which focuses your mind in a creative way that replaces negative thoughts of
- Making time to laugh and do fun/crazy activities with your friends and/or family members
- Snuggling with a pet
Next year's conference will again be held in mid-April.