Women’s Appreciation Day: Celebrating the Women of SUNY Oneonta


Lara Murray-Sterzel, Staff Writer |

On Wednesday, March 22, the Office of Equity and Inclusion held an event in Lee Hall’s Great Room for Women’s Appreciation Day, a global holiday where we celebrate women’s rights, achievements, and equality. This event was a tribute to our female leaders at SUNY Oneonta.  

The Great Room was filled with students and faculty, buffet tables, and a stage in the front of the room. When arriving, the academic staff introduced themselves before taking their seats to watch the slideshow on the screen. This slideshow delivered messages from students expressing their gratitude to our female staff members. All guests were greeted with a small card placed at the seat of each table, which displayed historical quotes from women leaders.  

Bernadette Tiapo, Vice-President for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, was the woman behind this inspirational event. When everyone found their seats, Tiapo went onto the stage where she thanked everyone for coming. She talked about how meaningful this event was to her. She wanted to find a way to bring the women of SUNY Oneonta together and reflect on the impact each of them has had on our school. Tiapo feels we should be proud of our accomplishments in the academic system because they helped shape this school into what it is today.  

I met with Rosemarie Avanto, a lecturer in Family and Consumer Sciences Education, who was attending this event for the first time. “I’m very proud of it. And I think women have made tremendous contributions. I think we have some very strong female leadership across campus and that’s really nice to have,” said Avanto. 

When Avanto was asked if she feels that women are finally seen as equals to men in the work field, she believes that people struggle for power in general. However, she feels that we’re getting closer, calling power a “strange thing.” Avanto finds that people can be easily discouraged because they have many high expectations of life and themselves. She personally believes that being kind to yourself, and to others, is a very powerful thing. This helps motivate our connections, our jobs, and the people we meet. Something as simple as that can empower a community. With that being said, Avanto advises students to not shy away from their gifts and to venture into leadership positions if they have the desire to be in one. 

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