Top Navigation

Side Navigation

Women's History Luncheon March 19 at WIU

March 12, 2014


MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University's Women's History Month keynote speaker and luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19 in the Multicultural Center first floor Activity/Multipurpose Room on the Macomb campus.

JL Fields, WIU alumna and co-author of "Vegan for Her: The Woman's Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet," will deliver the keynote address. The event is open to the WIU and Macomb communities.

WIU Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia said Fields' presentation ties-in with the 2013-2014 University Theme, "Food and Drink: Mind, Body and Soul."

Seating for those who have reservations for the luncheon, which is free and limited to 30 people, will begin at 11:45 a.m. Reservations may be made by calling the Women's Center by noon Tuesday, March 18. Registration will close sooner if the 30-person maximum is reached before that time.

Gallery seating for the program, which will begin at 12:15 p.m., will be available for those who would like to hear Fields speak but are unable to attend the luncheon.

The meal will be catered by Carol Longley's Dietetics/Family and Consumer Sciences 356 Catering Management students, who will prepare some of the recipes contained in the book. According to Longley, her students have been working with Sodexo to cater a variety of events this semester, and this is the first time they will have prepared a vegan meal.

"There are some very different and interesting ingredients (in vegan cooking)," Longley said. "This will be a good experience for the students in our catering class."

Fields, a WIU alumna for both her bachelor's and master's degrees, is originally from Stronghurst, IL. She has 25 years experience in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

She served as assistant director of College of Commerce, as a residence hall director at De Paul University and as director of Programs and Anti-Violence project director and director of Youth Services at Horizons Community Services, the Midwest’s largest and most comprehensive social service agency meeting the needs of Chicago’s gay and lesbian community.

Fields has served as executive director for three nonprofit organizations: Rape Victim Advocates, a rape crisis center in Chicago; V-Day, an international foundation to end violence against women and girls and Hudson Valley Writers' Center, a literary arts organization in New York. She served as adjunct faculty for the not-for-profit management program of the Business Institute at Long Island University-CW Post for five years.

Currently, as owner and lead consultant at JL Fields Consulting, LLC, she provides strategic planning, fundraising and board development services for nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education. Fields also is a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator and author. She provides health, wellness and plant-based consulting and education services for corporations and organizations, career coaching for health and wellness professionals, and writes freelance pieces on health, wellness and plant-based diets.

"I'm so incredibly excited about this (opportunity)," Fields said. "I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like to talk about - obviously we have the nutrition angle with my book, but I'm also keen to talk about how I professionalized my passion - moving from a career of higher education and nonprofit management to vegan blogger and cookbook author, health and wellness coach and career coaching others to follow their passion."

Cavicchia noted that in addition to speaking at the luncheon, Fields will be speaking to graduate students in the college student personnel (CSP) program about career development and transitional skills, as well as to Women's Center staff and volunteers, Feminist Action Alliance (FAA) members and other interested individuals at an open meeting in the Multicultural Center at 3:30 p.m.

Alicia Guzman-Riley, a first-year graduate student in CSP who is a graduate assistant in the Women's Center, said she is excited to meet Fields to talk about vegan recipes, and also to talk about her career experiences after higher education.

"I've been a vegetarian for more than three years," Guzman-Riley said. "At first, I decided to stop eating meat for health reasons; but, the more I read and observed, I quickly began to realize that eating a plant-based diet is not only healthier, but more environmentally friendly and compassionate. As a feminist, those things are important to me."

Women's Center graduate assistant Colleen Savage says she has been a vegetarian for five years and is happy with her healthy lifestyle choice and is interested in learning more about veganism.

"I want to learn about the lifestyle and the reasons why more people are becoming vegans. I also want to learn how to cook things that are different than the usual foods I eat,” Savage said.

FAA member Caitlyn Wright said she is glad Fields is coming to share with the campus community the importance of a plant-based diet.

"Having been a vegan for 10 years, I strongly encourage this lifestyle and feel the need to share its nutritional benefits with everyone!" Wright said. "I think JL Fields is a great choice for our Women's History Month keynote speaker this year because she is an accomplished alumna who motives and inspires WIU students to be successful in whatever passions they pursue."

Copies of "Vegan for Her" will be available for purchase, and Fields will be autographing them prior to and after the luncheon.

For additional information, and to make luncheon reservations, contact Cavicchia at the Women's Center at (309) 298-2242 or e-mail J-Cavicchia@wiu.edu.

Posted By: WIU News, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606