The Converse College for Women (CCW) launched its empowering living-learning community in Fall 2021. Over the past two years, the CCW has supported Converse’s focus on service, traditions, and leadership, while exploring and bolstering women’s representation and experiences.
New programming, events, and community service are critical components of the Converse College for Women experience. Opportunities include Big Sis/Little Sis week, the annual CCW Retreat, The Period Project fall service project, and community events such as the winter event, “Cocoa on the Go,” and Final Exam Snack Breaks designed to give students a chance to connect with one another.
The CCW prides itself on fostering a strong community with peer mentorship and connection while creating robust professional development opportunities to advance Converse students.
Black Women in Leadership Celebration Panel
On February 22, 2023, Black alumni and Spartanburg community members gathered for a student-led panel in Barnet. More than 120 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended this celebration of Black women in leadership.
Student-athletes Amaia Parkins ’24 and Jasmyn Williams ’25 led the conversation with the invited panelists. Jasmyn Williams is the current Social Media Manager of the Black Student Union, and the incoming Student Government Association President. Williams reflected that it was an honor to share the stage with such strong leaders in Spartanburg.
Converse student poets, Jade Hope ’24 and Asa Murphy-Caldwell ’24 presented original poetry about their lives as young Black Americans and touched on themes including survival, beauty, and the love of their Black heritage.
Suga Pie HoneyBun, a Black-owned catering business based in Greenville, created a custom menu of soul food-inspired small bites, spearheaded by owner and founder, Chef Ebony Sullivan.
Small Cakes Bakery in downtown Spartanburg provided red velvet cake and chocolate mini cupcakes for guests to enjoy.
Women’s Speaker Series
The Converse College for Women (CCW) celebrated International Women’s Day with this year’s Women’s Leadership Speaker Series on March 8, 2023.
This event brought together a large and diverse group, including Converse faculty, staff, and community members from Spartanburg, Inman, Greenville, and beyond.
Converse alums from all ages and backgrounds joined current students from the CCW to listen to the guest speakers and engage in meaningful conversations about the issues women still face living in South Carolina and the U.S.
These challenging conversations are an impactful and paramount part of events and programs Converse hosts during Women’s History Month.
Leading the dialogue this year was Ann Warner, Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), and recent Converse grad, Kennedy Anderson ’21, current Press Secretary for Congressman James Clyburn. They shared speeches on the state of women’s rights in South Carolina and offered advice for young women navigating a career in national politics while addressing this challenging time in the United States regarding race, gender, and political division.
Following the discussion, Dr. Chandra Hopkins, Dean of the Converse College for Women, moderated a Q&A with Warner and Anderson.
“[The series] served as an amazing reminder of how we, as women and allies, can come together to make a difference in our local and international communities.”Delaney Coldren ’23
Audience members asked meaningful questions including what tangible steps we can each take to improve issues such as gender pay equity, support for working parents, and domestic violence and intimate partner homicide in our state.
Delaney Coldren ’23, Converse College for Women intern and double major in German Studies and Creative and Professional Writing said, “The Women’s Leadership Speaker Series is an event that impacts not only CCW students, but the entire campus as well. Hearing Ann Warner speak taught us not only about the issues faced by women in South Carolina, but in the entire world as well. It served as an amazing reminder of how we, as women and allies, can come together to make a difference in our local and international communities.”
CCW student and CCW Council Representative, Logan Kate Nichols ’25 echoed Delaney’s remarks about the personal impact the guest speakers had on her and shared that she found their visit and contributions to our campus inspiring. An Individualized Major with an emphasis in Nonprofit Communication, Logan shared, “Having this event is something I look forward to every year because of how women’s issues in society today are unashamedly brought to the table. This boldness allows every woman in the room to know she is not alone and inspires the next generation of women leaders toward thoughtful progress.”
Dean Hopkins said, “Logan and Delaney’s words remind me of the power of inviting guest leaders and scholars to Converse and how their presence and shared wisdom can positively impact Converse for good.”
The annual Women’s Leadership Speaker Series reinforces to current Converse students, staff, and faculty that we have a dynamic, robust women’s college within Converse University that has and will continue the work of empowering women. The CCW continues to solidify Converse’s place as a leader in educating and ensuring the rights of all people in our upstate and larger South Carolina community.