The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Pasquerilla West modifies Women’s Empowerment Week to comply with restrictions, increase accessibility

| Wednesday, March 3, 2021

With a legacy that includes being the first dorm on campus built just for women and housing the first female leprechaun mascot, Pasquerilla West’s (PW) community is built upon empowering and supporting women, junior resident Ellyn Jarrell said. 

Thus, PW decided to adopt a new signature event last year: Women’s Empowerment Week. The second edition of the annual event is taking place this week, consisting of a variety of events aimed toward celebrating women across campus and raising money for St. Margaret’s House, a day center committed to serving women and children in need in South Bend.

Jarrell, one of this year’s Women’s Empowerment Week commissioners, said even though most of the week’s events have to be held virtually due to the University’s COVID-19 restrictions, she hopes an increased reliance on social media advertising will publicize the event more than last year.

“We were really hoping since it is virtual that using social media to hype everything up will be different than last year,” she said. “I don’t think that we utilized it enough, but it might actually be better to kind of get the word out and talk more about what [Women’s Empowerment Week] means.”

Courtesy of Ellyn Jarrell
Attendees at last year’s Women’s Empowerment Brunch prepare to listen to Amy Coney Barrett speak. This year, the brunch will be held virtually and will feature assistant press secretary to vice president Kamala Harris, and assistant provost for academic advising Elly Brenner.


As part of Women’s Empowerment Week, PW is hosting a week-long women’s hygiene products drive and selling t-shirts. Both the hygiene products and funds raised from the t-shirt sale will be donated to St. Margaret’s House. 

St. Margaret’s House and PW have developed a strong relationship recently, Jarrell said. While she was hall president last year, Jarrell noticed PW didn’t have a “signature charity.” When she reached out to St. Margaret’s House while looking for another place to send collections from last year’s P-Dub’s Closet event, an unlikely connection fueled a new relationship. 

“Their coordinator for all their volunteering and their donating was a P-Dub AR way back in the late 90s, so she got so excited that P-Dub had reached out,” Jarrell said. “And then after that, we had just kind of always wanted to work with them.”

Additionally, students will have the opportunity to stop by Duncan Student Center Thursday evening and write letters to any inspirational women in their lives. Then from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Pasquerilla West will host a Zoom panel where women from across campus will speak about what being a powerful woman on campus means to them. 

Speakers this year include Rachel Palermo, a third-year Notre Dame Law student and assistant press secretary to vice president Kamala Harris, and assistant provost for academic advising Elly Brenner. 

The Zoom panel serves as a virtual replacement for last year’s brunch in Dahnke Ballroom. Women’s Empowerment Week commissioner sophomore Adler Maher attended the event and credited the speakers — specifically Notre Dame Law professor and Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett — and the women in charge of planning the brunch with inspiring her to get involved this year. 

“Last year, I was just really inspired by the different women who spoke at the event and the people who were in charge [of] it,” Maher said. 

The week will conclude Sunday evening with a Women’s Empowerment Mass at 8:30 p.m. in the Stepan Center. Students will be able to attend either in person or virtually. 

Sophomore hall president Maura Hogaboom said she hopes the virtual options to the Mass and panel will allow more people in the community to access Women’s Empowerment Week. 

“Last year, it was a brunch that 100-ish people came to, so we’re really hoping that even more people can attend it this year since it’s going to be virtual, so there won’t really be a cap on numbers there,” Hogaboom said. 

Hogaboom added that she wants Women’s Empowerment Week to serve as an event that can bring the University together amid the difficulties students, faculty and staff face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and campus restrictions.

“As president of P-Dub, I’ve tried to make our community one of positivity and one that empowers one another,” she said. “I hope that Women’s Empowerment Week can bring that, sort of, P-Dub community to the rest of the school and bring back that type of inter-dorm collaboration that we usually have throughout the year.”

Tags: , , , ,

About Ryan Peters

Ryan is a sophomore in Knott Hall who hails from Lake Forest, Illinois. He is majoring in business analytics and minoring in constitutional studies. He currently serves as an associate news editor for The Observer. Follow him on Twitter @peterrsryan.

Contact Ryan