“Half the Sky” Descends on Rollins

September 05, 2012

Half The SkyTen million children forced into prostitution. Six hundred thousand trafficked people. The staggering statistics and heartbreaking stories unfurled in Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, this year’s summer reading selection, are almost incomprehensible. How has the exploitation of so many women and children gone mostly unnoticed by the western masses? And what can we do about it now? 

Those are the questions answered by Half the Sky’s authors, New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who will visit the Winter Park Institute in the coming weeks to continue the dialogue that has stirred emotions and debates on campus. 

Stephanie Sang ’15 said the topic was emotionally charged for first-year students. “At first we set aside 40 minutes to discuss the book in the RCC class where I am a peer mentor,” she said. “An hour and half later, we all still had much to say, and the incoming students had so many different opinions. This was a great introduction to their new life at Rollins. This is what education is all about.” 

“Our committee chose Half the Sky because we felt that the book would introduce our first-year students to the mission of the College in a real and tangible way,” said Gabriel Barreneche, associate professor of modern languages and chair of the book selection committee. “The committee saw the book as a call to action for our students and noted how it offers concrete ways students can be a part of the solution both locally and globally.” 

One way Kristof and WuDunn suggest is through support of Kiva.org, a people-to-people microlending website that facilitates small loans for burgeoning entrepreneurs in the developing world. 

In 2010, a group of students in Assistant Professor of International Business Tonia Warnecke’s Globalization and Gender class founded the Rollins Microfinance Fund, a student organization designed to support Kiva.org.

Join the Rollins Microfinance Fund

Find out more about this student organization by contacting Tonia Warnecke  (RMF Faculty Advisor) or Gregory Corwin (RMF President)

“Kiva provides an online platform allowing us to choose an individual from countries all over the world and support that person's entrepreneurship goal. The students raise funds and choose entrepreneurs each semester to support; most (though not all) of these are women,” said Warnecke, who is the group’s faculty advisor. “Loans can be as little as $25, which goes a long way in many developing countries. We can see the loan applicant’s picture, a list of other Kiva loans the individual has taken out, and we can review their repayment rate online. Having access to this information allows us to feel a more powerful and more personal connection to the entrepreneurs.” 

On Thursday, September 6, Half the Sky’s co-author, Nicholas Kristof, will kick off this season’s Winter Park Institute program with his address inside the Alfond Sports Center.

On Wednesday, September 12, Dean of the Chapel J. Powers will present Half the Sky 2.0 Continuing the Conversation on Women and Religion at Winter Park Plaza (330 W. Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park). Powers will facilitate a panel discussion with four local faith leaders about the ethical, moral, and religious questions surrounding the treatment of women worldwide.

Finally, on Wednesday, October 10, the Winter Park Institute will host Sheryl WuDunn, Kristof’s wife and Half the Sky co-author. Held in the Alfond Sports Center, this event will conclude with a book signing.


By Kristen Manieri

Office of Marketing & Communications
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