OpEd Project Helps Students Express Opinions

Tziona Brietbart ’16
Assistant News Editor

Next Friday, a small group of Smith students will travel to Mount Holyoke College to participate in the OpEd Project, a joint program that aims to teach women how to express their opinions clearly and effectively in the media. The program consists of panels and workshops, and is open to all who register.

The Wurtele Center for Work and Life, a sponsor of the program at Smith, became interested in the OpEd project as part of their work through their “Beyond the Bubble: Speaking Up in the World” series. The series included many workshops and programs in order to aid students in conveying their opinions to the world beyond Smith.   

In the fall, the CWL focused on speaking up in class and with professors, but the CWL is changing its spring focus to helping students speak up in the world.

“Everyone was talking about the value of speaking up and being heard, so I thought to bring the OpEd Project in the spring,” said Jessica Bacal, director of the CWL.

“Students will learn some skills that they can use to put their ideas and opinions in writing here at Smith and beyond,” said Bacal.

The program will teach students how to write as a way to address social justice issues that they feel are important to themselves and the world.

Many students will be able to continue writing through the program for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times. Students who go on to write op-eds will receive aid from local writer Heather Abel and the Wurtele Center.

To kick off the OpEd event, the Center is holding a moderated panel called “Underrepresented Voices in the Media: Narratives of Speaking Up.”  The panel will explain how one’s voice can be heard in a challenging field, and will be followed by help in writing through the OpEd program. 

“Every life story is a unique life story and each person has a unique perspective,” said Bacal. “One has more expertise than one realizes, and that is valuable.”

“All Smith women are opinionated and every student would get something out of the OpEd program,” Bacal continued. “It is an opportunity to formalize and articulate your opinion in writing in a way that it could end up being published.”

According to Bacal, the program gives students the chance to move outside the classroom and make an impact in the real world. “I think Smith develops women that are leaders,” said Bacal. “This is one skill that is really good for leaders to articulate and argue in writing.”

To apply/register for the event please go to www.smith.edu/cwl

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