SWEEC to bring women together through community service

by InSoo Lee

Staff Writer

This year, Mary Ottley (C’15) and Lillie Belle Viebranz (C’15) will start Sewanee Women Engaging & Empowering Community (SWEEC) through the Canale Internship Program. Two other seniors will help with SWEEC as site supervisors: Aloise Phelps (C’15) and Mary Caroline Querbes (C’15). About forty-two applicants will be accepted. After being accepted, the women will be put into groups of about seven to eight with one mentor per group. According to Viebranz, the mentors will be women in the Sewanee community who are not professors, but are chosen because “the mentors are women who we think are proactive go-getters who make a difference in the community.”

The mentors for the year will be Janice Thomas (Nurse at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee), Megan Roberts (Sewanee Writer’s Conference Administrator), Kammy Young (Director of Contextual Education and Lecturer in Contextual Theology at the Sewanee School of Theology), Nicky Hamilton (Associate Director of Community Engagement), Rachel Malde (Art and Technology Teacher at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee), and Gail Castle (Executive Director, Franklin County Humane Society). Three of the seven women are also alumnae of Sewanee who will have a lot of advice to give. These groups will be required to meet once a week with a loose curriculum SWEEC will provide. Then, all the groups will come together one Saturday a month and work on a service project like Blue Monarch and the CAC and more to help other women in the community. Women who are abroad this semester will get the opportunity to apply for SWEEC next semester.

SWEEC was created with “a desire to create community amongst the women in Sewanee by engaging in service women to women. We are focused on women because we want to create camaraderie with women,” according to Viebranz. Ottley hopes that SWEEC will “develop strong relationships that will last while helping other women in a positive environment and that the women will become aware of issues in the world that they will take with them after graduating.”