Living Columns & Blogs

AAUW offers range of programs to help girls, women in the community

Ten years ago when I moved to State College, I didn’t even know there was an organization like AAUW. What I did know is that I wanted to stand up for my rights, for the young women in my life, and for my community.

As a single adult woman working on her M.Ed, the move to State College was a courageous but uncertain step. I quickly realized the need to find a fit for myself in the community.

I discovered that the letters AAUW, stand for American Association of University Women. But exactly what did that mean? Did I need to affiliate with the university in some way? Happily, the answer was “no.” I learned that an associate or equivalent (RN), baccalaureate, or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university is a membership requirement. Free e-Student memberships for students of AAUW College/University Members are also available.

In spite of that trepidation, I reached out to learn more about AAUW State College. Now a member for over five years, I am continually humbled by the tremendous stewardship of resources this group practices. For me, that’s why AAUW State College rises to the top in a community full of many worthwhile volunteer organizations.

The AAUW State College Used Book Sale, held each May, is our signature event. It nets about $100,000 each year. We gather book donations year-round from generous community members to make this event a reality. We are fiscally responsible and accountable for the funds raised. These funds support Centre County girls and women through educational and empowerment opportunities in the following ways:

Philanthropic priorities: Ten nonprofit programs that reflect AAUW’s mission to advance equity for women and girls were awarded $43,280.

Scholarships: Four scholarships totaling $28,000 were awarded to returning adult women students, using a combination of book sale revenues and earnings from endowments.

STEM project mini-grants: Mini-grants totaling $30,150 were awarded for STEM after-school programs in area school districts, Penn State ScienceU scholarships, Discovery Space projects, and more.

While nearly all of the funds we raise stay local, we also contribute to AAUW National for initiatives such as advancing equal pay.

We also offer public programs that provide information and inspiration that help women to become more self-sufficient. In the public policy realm, we advocate for policies that break through educational and economic barriers.

AAUW State College is a network of women from diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences and we are enriched by learning from each other. If you are looking for your fit in the community, consider learning more about AAUW State College by visiting aauwstatecollege.org/join or emailing aauwscmembershipinfo@gmail.com.

Jennifer Karch is the AAUW State College membership vice president.
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