By Alina Hunter-Grah, Chattanooga, Tenn. — The University’s Women’s Center recently opened applications for its 2016-17 WISE Board Chairs, an organization that aims to strengthen women through various programs.

WISE, which stands for Women Investing in Student Empowerment, consists of five chairs: the Public Relations Chair, the Wellness Chair, the Leadership Chair, the Violence Against Women Chair, and the Women’s Action Council (WAC) Facilitator. All five positions are open applications, except for the WAC Facilitator which is voted in by the WAC.

The Public Relations Chair is responsible for designing flyers, advertisements, and the running social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. The only requirement for this position is that the applicant have experience with applications that can be used to design flyers like Adobe InDesign or Photoshop.

The Wellness Chair assists with programming in the fall during Self Awareness Month and with Play, Believe, Achieve in the spring.

The Leadership chair helps to plan the fall Women’s Leadership Academy retreat and Elect Her in the spring.

The Violence Against Women chair begins work over the summer to help plan the Take Back the Night event that happens every October and plans events during Sexual Assault awareness month.

The WAC Facilitator serves a bridge between WAC and other WISE board members to help connect the two organizations.

“It’s a great outlet for women who are really passionate about women’s equity issues,” said Cassie Nice, the Women’s Center Assistant Director.

Positions are held by members for one academic year. Students can reapply to be on the WISE board, but cannot reapply for the same position on the board. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 26. Interviews for the positions will be conducted March 7- 11. Any woman can apply for these positions.

“Some of the greatest WISE women we’ve had have no connection to the Women’s Center prior to coming,” said Nice. “They’re just so passionate about women’s issues that once they get involved, they’re awesome. So we don’t discriminate.”

Nice said board members will learn a variety of skills through the program.

“It really gives them great public speaking skills,” said Nice. “They have to manage their planning committees. It helps people learn how to work well with others from all different backgrounds or maybe people they haven’t connected with yet or don’t have much in common with. It also helps them build leadership skills.”

The WISE board has two events planned for the week applications are due for students wanting more information about the position’s responsibilities.

A WISE board panel is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. during the WAC meeting. Board members will have one minute to explain their positions before members will open up to questions from the audience.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., a coffee chat will be held in the Women’s Center for students to ask current board members about their positions. Cookies, brownies, coffee and cocoa will be served.

Board members found that becoming involved with WISE was beneficial in a variety of ways.

“I feel like I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about who I am and I feel like it’s helped me appreciate other women because I work with four other really incredible women who I look up to and really inspire me,” said Tia Roach, WISE leadership board chair. “I feel like I’ve gained some really great friendships, I feel like I’ve gained knowledge about myself and I feel like I’ve gained a place that I can call home.”

Students who are interested in applying for positions can find the applications and more information on the positions through this link: bit.ly/UTCWISE16.