Luncheon, fashions headline annual AAUW spring luncheon

By NANCY WILSTACH / Community Columnist

Fashions, a silent auction and chicken salad combined to make the “Spring Time Celebration 2017” an enjoyable occasion for members of the Montevallo Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The annual fund-raising event was March 23 in the John W. Stewart Student Retreat Center on the UM campus. President Amanda Melcher said that the annual event brought in more than $1,000 to benefit the branch’s projects, especially Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). That program provides free books to school children to encourage the joy of reading.

Other AAUW projects are the Hallie Farmer Legacy Scholarship in the social sciences and a freshman book scholarship to help a new student offset that all-important college expense: textbooks.

“With the book scholarship we typically encourage our Upward Bound students to apply. We are very vested in Upward Bound,” Melcher said.

Participating students take part in AAUW programs, she said, as a way to keep the youngsters interested in pursuing a college degree. Upward Bound is a federal program on the UM campus for high school students who would be the first generation in their family to go to college.

Melcher said the AAUW branch will be launching a drive for new members because of a slight decline in membership recently related to the inactivity of long-time president Sandra Lott.

“She just did so much, and everything just fell into place with her,” Melcher said. “We miss her a great deal.”

Lott has been inactive in AAUW due to illness in her family, and Melcher asked the AAUW members to keep the Lott family in their prayers.

This year’s speaker was Montevallo District 3 Councilwoman Tiffany Roskamp-Bunt whose topic was “Women in Politics.”

Bunt urged women to run for public office or actively to support women candidates.

“If you want to get involved right now,” she said, “See me about opportunities on our city boards.”

Faye Roberts and Barbara Broadhead presented the fashion show, featuring local models and fashions from Belk that each model selected. Models were Maggie Hall, Kerrie Pate, Kitty Keener, Tracy Payne-Rocko, Andrea Eckelman, Lolita Kincade, Nan Duren, Beth Glasgow and Kristalyn Lee.

That chicken salad in a croissant was part of festive sack lunches provided by Southern Sweets.

Before and after the fashion show, luncheon attendees bid on a variety of silent auction items—from original paintings to antique china and newly published books.

AAUW has existed nationally for more than a century, promoting equality for women and girls, lifelong education, research and advocacy. Membership is open to anyone (including men) with an associate’s degree or higher. The Montevallo branch dates to 1927.

According to its national mission statement, AAUW “values and seeks a diverse membership with no barriers to full participation on the basis of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.”

Those interested in learning more about the Montevallo branch can explore the branch’s web site: Montevallo-al.aauw.net.

The web site includes a page where new members may sign up.