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Event marks 25 years for Women's Forum

The MIT Women's Forum will celebrate 25 years of service, leadership and friendship with an open house and buffet luncheon on Monday, April 7. The event has been moved to the Kolker Room (26-414) because of overwhelming response to invitations sent in mid-March. Late RSVPs should go to Eleanor Bonsaint of the Women's Forum Steering Committee and will be accepted on a space-available basis.

The Steering Committee hopes to see new members assume leadership responsibilities. "The risk is that no one will continue the organization's work and that it will die," said long-time Women's Forum member Joan Doucette.

The present Committee members have planned regular monthly talks by speakers from MIT and elsewhere on many topics during past academic years--as well as occasional weekend events, such as last fall's well-attended First-Time Home Buyers' Workshop--and they hope others will step in to help with these activities.

A crucial question to be discussed at Monday's brainstorming and recruiting event is whether noontime forums, the centerpiece of the group's activities, are still important to the MIT community. Some concerns that were discussed for the first time in Women's Forum events are now addressed through regular MIT programs presented by the Benefits Office, Health Education Service and Family Resource Center. Some members of the MIT community may prefer Web exploration, newsgroups and other virtual contacts to in-person meetings. Also, reengineering and increased staff workloads may make attendance at noontime sessions more difficult.

Countering these changes is an increased awareness of the importance of community service in people's lives, according to Eve Sullivan, another Women's Forum member. "I recently learned that performance reviews in at least one department now include a category for community activities, such as involvement in Women's Forum, so I feel hopeful that enough people will volunteer to keep the organization going," she said.

The MIT Women's Forum will hold its annual meeting on Monday, May 5 in Rm 26-414 to elect 1997-98 Steering Committee members and officers, and to continue discussion of the group's vision, mission and strategies. The Women's Forum Web site is at . Eleanor Bonsaint at welcomes inquiries in advance of the April 7 open house.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 3, 1997.

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