The first of its kind at West Chester University, Men?s Issues Day was celebrated Thursday Feb. 10, with a day of programs dedicated to the topic and to kick off the official recognition of the first student-run men?s organization, Man Up!Though the group had beenmeeting consistently during the fall semester, just last Tuesday, Feb. 8, SGA approved the group as an official organization.
Other organizations for men did previously exist on campus. “The Fraternity Anti-Violence Education Program has been a steady presence at WCU and influenced other groups to create other venues for men?s development and awareness about men?s issues,” said Dr. Deborah Mahlstedt of the psychology department. “It has provided inspiration for expanding men?s work on the campus,” said Robin Garrett, Women?s Center director.
Until now, administration and professors have been leading men?s groups on campus. “A student-run men?s issues group.” said Steve Vescovich, Friar and Vice President of Council Man Up!, “is what they have in mind now.”
Man Up! has a number of executive positions available to new members and gives men on campus a chance to build their resumes.
Man Up! consists of a senate that performs business operations and a council. Council is made up of committees that address various men?s issues such as health, politics, and fitness, and is willing to expand and add new committees.
“We?re in constant communication with Robin Garrett of the Women?s Center all the time,” said Vescovich. Garrett played a big role in the production of “The Vagina Monologues.” In contrast, “The Penis Monologues” may be in the future for WCU, said Vescovich.
Program topics for the Men?s Issues Day included black masculinity, a panel discussion on violence, women, and media, a men?s health issues discussion, and a LUVIM program with Dr. Michael Kimmel, sociologist and author known for his work on men and masculinity “Man Up! seeks to challenge the stereotypical perceptions of males in our society,” it said on a flier handed out at the programs during the day. The “Violence, Women & the Media” session touched on some of these stereotypes. “People should educate themselves,” said Margaret Panicelli, student panelist. “Try to be objective when you?re watching TV.” Garrett recommended asking, “What am I inadvertently and unintentionally supporting?”
The group wants to raise awareness of issues surrounding men. Man Up! is for anyone who is a student. The group currently consists of primarily fraternity men. This group is for any and all men. It will “hopefully turn into a Men?s Center on campus,” said Vescovich.
Vescovich said that the only similar men?s group that he knows of in the state of Pennsylvania is at Slippery Rock University. A brother of a Man Up! member started it there.
Other universities around the country set good examples for what these men wish to do. St. John?s University in Minnesota has the SJU Men?s Center for Leadership and Service. Old Dominion University and the University of Oregon are among many other colleges with men?s centers around the country.
Stony Brook University in New York actually has a “WoMen?s Center,” for both sexes. Man Up! would like to be involved with and cosponsor future programs with WCU?s Women?s Center.
Women can even come out to the meetings if they?d like. “We?re going to try to have a woman representative,” Vescovich said, so they can get both perspectives on issues. “It?s not men?s day, it?s everyone ?s day,” said Dr. Edward Lordan, communications studies.
Man Up! has their meetings every Monday at 5 p.m. on the second floor of Lawrence. For more information on the organization, or about executive board positions, contact Steve Vescovich at 610-436-7396.