Battle Creek

AAUW finds a new way to support Battle Creek to celebrate 100 years of giving

Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Battle Creek series.

A destination attraction on the Kellogg Community College campus will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle Creek branch of the American Association of University Women while also serving as a reminder that there is more to be accomplished for all women.

The local AAUW is collaborating with the Battle Creek Community Foundation on the AAUW Battle Creek Legacy Centennial Community Project Fund to cover the cost of a statue that will eventually be placed at the north end of the KCC campus. The piece, which will cost $30,000 to create and install, will be created by Paula Blincoe Collins, a Harper Creek High School graduate who took her first college-level classes at KCC.

During the time she was contemplating an image that could embody the mission of AAUW, Blincoe Collins says she also was thinking about the hope and strength the members have given to allow so many young women to think outside the box. 

“The group has given so many the means and opportunity to explore all the possibilities outside of traditions,” she says. “This vision of a young woman holding a model of the earth aloft came to me as a visual aid -- all paths are possible and need to have thought and education to accomplish the journey.”

Blincoe Collins says she did a quick sketch, considered other possibilities, but kept finding herself returning to her original concept.

Wanting an image that could embody the mission of AAUW, Kay Calley-Martin who is co-chairing the Project Fund with Kathy Shaw, says the sculpture is of a biracial pre-teen female pondering the future.

“In her outstretched arm, she contemplates a model of planet earth balanced in the palm of her hand. The books she holds in her book bag convey the hope and strength AAUW members have given to so many young women--the value of an education,” Shaw says.

AAUW is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since the founding of the local branch in Battle Creek one hundred years ago, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day--educational, social, economic, and political.

“We believe Battle Creek is a wonderful place to live, work, study, play, and raise a family. AAUW is working to improve, expand and reinforce these concepts,” Shaw says. “In celebration of the 100th year of AAUW of Battle Creek and its years of volunteerism and commitment to the Battle Creek Community, the members of AAUW are striving to leave a gift to our community. This statue will celebrate the development and beautification of Battle Creek's North Side gateway neighborhood.”

Other projects over the years undertaken by the local AAUW have included its annual Used Book Sale; Scholarships Awards, Candidates’ Forum; “Girls Take Charge”, sponsored lectures by Ellen Goodman and Phil Donahue; and in collaboration with the Art Center and Junior League, “Art Goes to School.”

The goal is to have this work completed and installed in the Spring of 2019.  Blincoe Collins will be a part of the installation process and will visit with local schools and groups to discuss the work.

For more information about the project, click here.

Southwest Michigan Second Wave’s “On the Ground Battle Creek” series amplifies the voices of Battle Creek residents. In coming months, Second Wave journalists will be in Battle Creek neighborhoods to explore topics of importance to residents, business owners, and other members of the community. To reach the editor of this series, Jane Simons, please email her here or contact Second Wave managing editor Kathy Jennings here

Read more articles by Jane Simons.

Jane Simons is a freelance reporter and writer with more than 20 years of experience and also is the owner of In So Many Words based in Battle Creek. She is the Project Editor for On the Ground Battle Creek.
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