As a group, the 15 posters describe a constellation of Hamilton women who inspire and support women students in classrooms, dorms, and dining halls. The campus “sheroes” were nominated by students for Women’s History Month.
Each of the posters, which incorporate artwork by Mil Fienco ’23, features a nominee and her answers to a few questions, among them: How do you empower your fellow women? What do you love about being a woman? What is one word that pops into your head when you think of womanhood?
The posters are displayed in the Kirner-Johnson Building, Mail Center, Sadove Student Center, Taylor Science Center, and Burke Library.
The project traces back to Shay Lashgari ’24 and the Women’s History Month Committee of the Days-Massolo Center. Lashgari’s idea was to ask students to nominate women leaders on campus who would be celebrated as sheroes on posters displayed around campus.
When Lashgari pitched the idea to Days-Massolo Director Paola Lopéz, Lopez was on board.
‘I think it's important to cultivate an intentional culture of recognition and celebration. It humanizes our experiences and honors the lives of those who give so much to help us have a Hamilton College experience,” Lopez said. “So, I personally like that a student, Shay, wanted to connect with campus staff and faculty to celebrate various women across campus.”
Inspired by a show Lashgari saw a couple of years ago at the Anacostia Community Museum in Washington D.C., she included sticky notes with the posters.The display invites viewers to answer the same questions that the sheroes did and share them via the notes. For Lashgari, community engagement is an important element of the project.
She views this year’s effort as a pilot venture that she wants to expand next year. This time around Lashgari gathered nominations in a grassroots, word-of-mouth way. She would like to start earlier next year and include more students. She would also like to open up nominations and nominees to alumni and faculty. Lashgari envisions rows upon rows of Hamilton sheroes in a display that amplifies what she feels when she stands before this year’s posters.
“It really hits you nicely, and you genuinely feel like you are in the presence of heroes who’ve done great things,” she said.