New York State AAUW

November 2011

Editor: Donna Seymour


Local Branch: AAUW - District 7, State and National:

Deborah Rogers: "Shale Gas: Panacea or Shell Game?"
November 15 at 7:30 pm
Barben Rooms, Cheel Arena, Clarkson University

"Shale Gas: Panacea or Shell Game?" is an exploration of the economics behind the hype that surrounds shale gas development and hydro-fracking by professional financial analyst Deborah Rogers. Rogers has served on the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since 2008.

There is no doubt that gas exists in shale. Exceedingly optimistic forecasting, however, led some to question just how much gas is actually trapped in shale formations. Is shale gas truly the panacea that has been promoted by industry? Or is it merely a sophisticated play to drill for dollars in the capital markets, and link the domestic natural gas market to international export pricing? And would this be in the best interest of U.S. consumers and manufacturing?

Coming from a family with a history in oil and gas (her great-great-grandfather was one the of the first wildcatters in the U.S.), Ms. Rogers began to question the continued frenzy of drilling activity in light of the severe economic downturn and collapse of natural gas prices. She has been giving presentations on shale gas economics around the country since 2009, and was featured prominently in a June, 2011 New York Times article questioning the economics of shale gas. Her website, Energy Policy Forum, is the pre-eminent web site and blog for discussing the complex problems inherent in shale gas.

New York State is in the middle of deciding whether or not to open up the Marcellus Shale formation to gas drillers as has been happening in Pennsylvania for some time. Gas drilling has huge implications for the environment and the economy.

This educational event is sponsored by the St. Lawrence County League of Women Voters, along with community partners: AAUW-St. Lawrence County Branch, the Center for Excellence in Communication and the Institute for a Sustainable Environment at Clarkson University, the Sustainable Living Project, SUNY Potsdam's Environmental Studies Program and Middle Ground, the SUNY Potsdam environmental club.

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Networking Event at Clarkson University a Big Success

On November 1, the newly minted Clarkson Campus Club hosted a mixer for students, staff, faculty, AAUW and administrative women. Co-sponsored by the AAUW-St. Lawrence County, Clarkson's Gender Issues Committee and the Society of Professional Women, the event promoted greater networking on and off campus. There was a good turnout of AAUW members, many from the Clarkson faculty, and lots of students.

The panel who addressed question on networking was fabulous. Left to right, they were Laurel Kuxhaus, a SLC AAUW member and engineering prof at CU; Tasia White, an AAUW MAL, Area Coordinator of Residence Life at Clarkson, who was a 2008 attendee at the Leadership Conference; Kathryn Johnson, Vice President for University Outreach and Student Affairs at CU; and AAUW's own Addie Russell, Assemblywoman NYS, Jefferson County AAUW.

The panel was excellent because they spoke about not only the general value of networking and how to make that happen, but how important networking is at Clarkson in particular. Kathryn Johnson has been there since the 1975, so she has seen the growth of women from the very early days (11 women in the first graduating class that admitted women) to today. The three other women are all in their early thirties, which was huge for connecting with the students. As young professionals, they are the real-world role models needed to make their points. They also addressed issues of work-life balance, which is another whole topic of exploration for a next event and one where AAUW is leading the way (again!).

Tasia White is now a co-advisor to the CU AAUW group and has agreed to serve as our D-7 mentor for any students wishing to attend the Student Leadership Conference. She will work with students to prepare them to go and provide ways to keep them on track with applications, fund-raising, etc. There are about 8-9 CU students already talking about going!

Doris McLallen, AAUW-NYS College-University Director and Jefferson County Branch member talked with CU AAUW Campus Club president Meagan Lipinski about how to move forward with this brand new AAUW student organization.

Branch thanks to District 7 Coordinator Jen Ball and Meagan for their work in organizing it and to everyone who attended and made it so successful. We hope to export this model to other campuses.

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2011 AAUW Agent of Change: Margaret Kent Bass

For more than 20 years AAUW has biennially honored a St. Lawrence County woman whose work as employer, employee or volunteer is noteworthy in one or all of these three areas: her work has advanced the cause of women's rights; her work exemplifies the importance of equity for women; her work has brought about significant change in the community.

It is with great honor that the AAUW-St. Lawrence County Branch announces the 2011 AAUW Agent of Change: Margaret Kent Bass of Canton. Dr. Bass came to St. Lawrence in 1993 as an assistant professor of English and director of multicultural affairs in 1993. She left in 1995 to teach at the University of Iowa, returning in 2000.

Dr. Bass is now an Associate Professor of English and Caribbean and Latin American Studies at St. Lawrence University. She has previously served as interim Vice President and Dean of Student Life and Co-Curricular Education and overseen the Higher Education Opportunity Program, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, McNair Scholar program, Presidential Diversity Scholar program and Jeffrey Campbell Fellows program.

Dr. Bass is a powerful advocate and visible leader in equity and education; a trail blazer for women's rights, an advocate for racial justice, and a modern day Sojourner Truth for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights. She is the first to take a stand, to offer her voice and influence for those who might not be heard.

Dr. Bass embodies, through words and deeds, care for community and a commitment to change. She has being an agent of change on campus and in the larger community of the North Country, pushing the area to be more diverse in every single sense.

She started the SLU faculty Caucus of Color ten years ago, seeing the need for colleagues to find a safe place to express themselves. She also made a successful effort to diversify the SLU student body, particularly during her time as an interim Dean of Student Life when she fostered a cooperative, diversified and productive atmosphere at St. Lawrence University.

Dr. Bass has always assisted students from various ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds in making a smooth transition to college life in the North Country. She has worked with student organizations/groups in developing multicultural programming, has provided leadership training for cultural groups, has advised the Black Women's Residence, has worked in the development and programming of Presidential Diversity Scholars, has provided constant support for gay, lesbian and transgender students and organizations on campus in particular and in the North Country in general.

Margaret Bass has also devoted herself to diversify the student body and the faculty of the four colleges of St. Lawrence County. She has influenced our institutions of Higher Education and helped us to understand what is needed in order to find, to bring, support, and retain a diverse pool of professionals.

Margaret Bass served as convener and chair at various iterations of the Associated Colleges attempt to support diversity in the region, as well as for the SLU grant that helped at least a dozen faculty members of diverse background to work towards attaining tenure in our institutions, and find mentors outside their immediate departments or institutions.

AAUW has always had her support; we have been able to count on her work to advance our causes and our mission. The AAUW-St. Lawrence County Branch is proud to name Margaret Kent Bass its 2011 Agent of Change Award.

We warmly welcome Margaret Bass to our branch.

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AAUW Presents 2011 AAUW Research Award to
SUNY Potsdam's Dr. Susanne Zwingel

The St. Lawrence County Branch, American Association of University Women, is presenting its sixth annual AAUW Research Award to Dr. Susanne Zwingel, an International Relations and Women and Gender Studies Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at SUNY Potsdam. Dr. Zwingel joined the Politics Department at SUNY Potsdam in January 2006. Her academic interests focus on Human Rights, Global Governance, Transnationalism, and Conflict Dynamics take a feminist perspective, and her current book project focuses on International Women's Rights in domestic contexts. Prof. Zwingel is also preparing a textbook on Gender Politics in International Governance, which grew out of a conference she organized in Geneva, Switzerland.

With the first World Women's Conference in Mexico in 1975, the United Nations adopted gender equality as one of its goals, and in 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). However, as Dr. Zwingel explains, "inequality and subordination based on gender are still pervasive."

Equality of rights for women is a basic principle of the United Nations. The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations sets as one of the Organization's central goals the reaffirmation of "faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women."

Passed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979, CEDAW provides a universal definition of discrimination against women that establishes a basis for every government's domestic and foreign policy to combat gender-based discrimination. Although the United States has been a signatory to CEDAW for over 30 years, we have yet to ratify this important treaty and strengthen the foundation from which we work toward ensuring gender equity for all. AAUW has endorsed the ratification of CEDAW since 1981, and is still urging the Senate to take action to ratify this important treaty.

A native of Germany, Dr. Zwingel publishes and presents her work in both German and English. She recently was awarded a Drescher leave from SUNY Potsdam to pursue her research interests, and received several international grants, including the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Dr. Zwingel's work is of particular important to the AAUW-NYS project, My Sister's Keeper, a statewide initiative to foster a greater understanding of the plight of women worldwide and within our domestic borders. Among the areas of concern are gendercide, violence, lack of educational opportunities, the lack of maternal health care and efforts to support the rights of women, and gender equality. St. Lawrence County Branch AAUW is pleased to recognize Dr. Zwingel for work to better the understanding of women internationally.

We warmly welcome Suzanne Zwingel to the branch!

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Finding Common Ground: A New Video News Magazine

Airs on Nov. 14-15 at 7:30 pm on WCKN, Time Warner Cable Channel 30

or Watch on YouTube

One of the projects we have been working on this fall, in addition to the hours of voter education videos we have co-sponsored, has been Finding Common Ground. This local news magazine, loosely based on the Washington Week in Review format, just completed the final filming of our first program on Wind Power.

The civic partners for this project are AAUW-St. Lawrence County, the League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County, Seedcorn, the Center for Excellence in Communication at Clarkson University, and the students in Comm. 310 and 327 at Clarkson, who provided the technical assistance.

The intent of Finding Common Ground is to see if we can bring together people who can put their respective ideologies aside and listen to each other in order to find common values that will lead to solutions to the challenges and problems we all face.

The partners are putting together panels of people to talk about these issues and work together to find ways to move past division. To help us do that, our website is intended to let you read about the issues and help us frame questions that will help us reach solutions to these problems.

With a swirling debate around renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the need for environmentally responsible ways to power our homes, the issue of wind development is front and center both nationally and in many St. Lawrence County communities.

We already have wind development in Chateaugay and the Tug Hill Plateau. There are 700 megawatts of power being produced in the state, and there are plans for 8,000 more. On the surface, the advent of wind power is a good thing. It fulfills a need for a green, renewable energy source. But it is not without its problems.

For some communities, it has become an increasingly divisive, emotional issue in which opposing sides have become deeply entrenched in their views and there is little or no hope for compromise. How do we work through these differences to find ways to alleviate concerns by both sides?

Moderated by Elizabeth Lyons, managing editor of the Ogdensburg Journal and the Sunday Advance News, a panel of local people came together to discuss the topic of wind power. Joining Beth for the first show were Jason Pfotenhauer, deputy director of the St. Lawrence County Planning Office, Kari Tremper, Parishville town councilwoman, and Robin McClellan, adjunct instructor of alternative and renewable power at SUNY Canton.

Watch the show on WCKN or on the Internet. Go to the Common Ground website and give us your feedback and suggestions for additional topics.

Another topic in development for this fall is Education, Pre-K through 12. We know education is critical to our success, and yet it is facing unprecedented challenges these days.

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Women at the Front

The AAUW branches in Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and High Peaks-NCCC sponsored a panel discussion on leadership with North Country women on the Women at the Front panel, co-sponsored with WPBS-TV. (l-r in the photo) Moderator and Jefferson County AAUW member Andrea Pedrick, Dexter, hosted Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Canadian Forces, Karen McCrimmon, Ottawa, Judy L. Getner, former Deputy to the Garrison Commander at Fort Drum, Watertown, Dr. Ana Y. Estevez, Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, and Dr. Carole A. McCoy, President, Jefferson Community College, Watertown. You can watch the WPBS-produced show anytime as streaming video.

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Legal Advocacy Fund - Educational Opportunity Fund

Vice President Michele Pinard

At the Fall Membership meeting, there were two baskets. We raised $273 for LAF/EOF to be split evenly, $135.50 to each. The LAF funds will be designated for the Evvie Currie Giving Circle and the EOF Funds to the Community Action Grant projects. Also, $20 was donated for Open Windows. As you think about your charitable giving for the end of the year, remember AAUW. Open Windows, LAF & EOF can always use your support.

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Save the Date: March 3, 2012
The District 7 Conference:
Bully Culture
What it Is/What To Do About It
Jefferson Community College
With Holley Kearl
Managing Director
AAUW's Legal Advocacy Fund

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AAUW Member in the News:
Potsdam woman celebrates military music milestone

Did you catch this story on NCPR? (11/04/11) A Potsdam woman was one of the founding members of the Women's Air Force Band back in the early 1950's. Beverly Washburn was also the first female tuba player in an Air Force band and the ensemble's assistant conductor.

The WAF Band was organized in 1951 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Washburn was one of the first eighteen women musicians in the ensemble. In its ten-year lifespan, the group toured the country and marched in three presidential inaugurations.

As she prepared for the 60th reunion of the musicians in Arizona next week, Washburn spoke with Todd Moe about her tuba-toting military career.

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Mission Statements:

The American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. AAUW will be a powerful advocate and visible leader in equity and education through research, philanthropy, and measurable change in critical areas impacting the lives of women and girls.

In principle and practice AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.

The AAUW Educational Opportuntities Fund provides funds to advance education, research, and self-development for women and to foster equity and positive societal change.

The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund provides funding and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination.

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AAUW Book Group and
AAUW's Diversity Book of the Month Club for 2011-12

Branch Calendar of Events

North County Connection - St. Lawrence County Branch Home - Site Map