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Shades of Ebony honors coeducation

Nicole McAlee | Friday, April 5, 2013


The women of Shades of Ebony are preparing to celebrate coeducation at Notre Dame with their event ’40 Years and Counting,’ which will take place Monday through Wednesday celebrating the contributions of women on campus.

Senior Ally Jeter, outgoing vice president of Shades of Ebony, said the group was already planning a celebration of women on campus when they learned this year is the University’s 40th anniversary of coeducation.  

“It originally started out as a program we were in called ‘High Heels, Higher Standards,'” Jeter said. “We just wanted it to be a celebration of women and all that we do here on campus and then we realized that it was 40 years of women specifically this year, so we wanted to
incorporate that and capitalize on that and make it even grander. It’s … a celebration of women in the past, here in the present and also women in the future at Notre Dame, and all of our accomplishments  and  what we’ve
contributed to the University.” 

Freshman Chizo Ekechukwu, historian and Diversity Council representative for Shades of Ebony, said the group’s events will begin Monday afternoon with a service event.

“We have ‘Women’s Week’ next week,” Ekechukwu said. “We have our service event on Monday at Saint Margaret’s House for us to give back to the community [and] we have an ice cream social with them.” 

Ekechukwu said there will be an opportunity for group members and faculty from various departments to
gather for dinner and engage in
discussion at the Joyce Center’s Club Naimoli on Tuesday night. She said they will discuss important
topics for women in American
society during the dinner.

“The dinner is with 75 women,” Ekechukwu said. “We have nine different
tables and nine different topics and we’ll talk about different
issues, from the representation of women to women in sports and things like that.” 

On Wednesday, a prayer service in Ryan Hall and a ‘Girls’ Night In’ in the Coleman-Morse Center lounge will close out the ’40 Years and Counting’ celebration, Jeter said.

Jeter said the prayer service is open to anyone, but the ‘Girl’s Night In’ is restricted to women.

“[The prayer service] is open to everyone on campus. It will just be reflecting on the role of spirituality and being a
woman here on campus,” Jeter said. “‘Girls’ Night In’ is
specifically for women, just to have a place to go in fellowship after the prayer service.” 

According to the group’s website, Shades of Ebony was officially recognized by the University in 2002 as a group for African American women on campus to discuss their experiences, foster sisterhood and perform service. 

Freshman Ray’Von Jones, Shades of Ebony president-elect for the 2013-14
academic year, said the group’s goal is to help women on campus develop a positive self-image.

“We’re basically trying to help promote positive self-image between African American and other women on campus,” said Jones.

Jeter said the organization has transformed from just a group for discussion into one that fosters service alongside dialogue.

“It started in the basement of Walsh Hall as a place for discussion … and then it
became more of a service-based and discussion-
oriented initiative,” she said. 

The group meets every
other Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the South Lounge of Walsh Hall. Ekechukwu said all women are welcome to join the group’s dialogue and service. 

“We are open to everyone. I think a common misconception with Shades is that it’s only for black women, and it’s not. It would be nice to see women of all races and
sexualities,” Ekechukwu said.