Eat carbs to help end violence against womenUniversity of Minnesota Duluth students in Deborah Plechner’s Transnational Perspectives on Feminism class teamed up with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) last semester to aid the internationally known agency.
By: Esther Piszczek, For the Budgeteer News
University of Minnesota Duluth students in Deborah Plechner’s Transnational Perspectives on Feminism class teamed up with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) last semester to aid the internationally known agency.
Their semester-long project will culminate in a fundraising dinner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The dinner will feature lots of carbohydrates including, lasagna, spaghetti and Fettuccine Alfredo, as well as pizza, salad and bread. A $10 donation is suggested. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options will be available.
“We thought the carbo-load would be a great way to foster community bonding around this issue. It will be fun, and people love carbs,” said UMD student Hannah Maertz, who secured the venue for the event.
Plechner’s Transnational Perspectives on Feminism class studies global feminism, focusing on what women’s lives are like around the world. “This is the first time I did community-based learning in an upper division course where it was project-based, and students were working with just one agency,” said Plechner, an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at UMD.
“The students wanted to do something hands-on and tangible. It was a very nice, mutually beneficial relationship,” said Linda Riddle, executive director of DAIP.
To prepare for the dinner, Plechner’s students held three bake sales last semester, sought donations from grocery stores and pizza shops, and networked using social media to spread the word.
Nicole Smith, a senior at UMD studying liberal arts, managed DAIP’s Facebook page and raised awareness about its mission using the micro-blogging site Twitter. “I really enjoy doing it, and it really helped me to understand domestic violence a little bit more, so I wanted to keep working there,” said Smith, who continues to volunteer at DAIP.
“The DAIP mission is to listen to voices of women who have been battered, believing that abusers can change and working toward changes in systems and in society to work toward ending violence,” said Riddle, who has been a voice for social change in the battered women’s movement for over 20 years.
The DAIP will use the money raised at the dinner to fund the Duluth Family Visitation Center, 202 E. Superior Street, in Duluth. The Center provides an area to keep kids and their non-abusing parents safe during visits with the parent responsible for abuse. “We welcome donations and fundraising to help lower these costs,” said Riddle.
“None of the students knew about DAIP before we started the project so part of the project was to increase awareness about DAIP in the local community. Any dent we can make in the budget of DAIP is great. [The dinner] is a culmination of all the work that we did,” said Plechner.
Junior Meghan Mathson went store-to-store seeking donations and educating storeowners about the work of DAIP. “It was an interesting learning experience because I don’t think any of us have ever planned an event before. I am very excited and really confident that this is going to turn out well because we put in so much time and effort,” said Mathson, a business marketing major at UMD.
A short presentation about DAIP will be held during the dinner, and staff from DAIP will be available to answer questions from the community.
In addition to planning the dinner, Plechner’s students also connected globally with organizations who share DAIP’s mission. Students connected with people in Australia, Kenya and Iraqi Kurdistan to gather and share information.
“This is an inspired event. The students had great enthusiasm and interest in learning. They needed to take initiative and pursue information on their own and needed to be self-directed,” said Riddle, who thought the service-based learning the students did at DAIP was a success.
“We’re excited to raise a lot of money for DAIP. I think it is amazing that their work is going all over the country and the world. It is really impressive, and people in the Duluth community should know about it,” said Maertz.
The “DAIP Carbo-load: Gearing up to End Domestic Violence” will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1710 E. Superior Street in Duluth, Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. $10 suggested donation.