Member Programs & Committees

Be Our Guest Program

In 2005, the Women’s Society launched a host dinner program for international students and scholars in honor of WSWU’s 40th anniversary. This initiative provides an opportunity for international students to experience an American family’s way of life with WSWU members providing a one-time meal in their home for one or two international students. Learn about other opportunities for international student outreach.


Host Family

The Host Family program is a cultural exchange program between the university’s international students and local families who are interested in developing friendships and furthering their cross-cultural awareness. Host families offer an informal relationship by getting together once a month or so for family dinners, movies, trips to the theater, sporting events, or sightseeing.

Speak English with Us

This program serves international students and their families who want help with their conversational English. The “tutoring,” which consists of having conversations about commonplace subjects, helps these students become familiar with idioms and slang while teaching them more about American people and their customs.


Business Committee & Bear Necessities Shop

The Bear Necessities shop is a unique campus store, offering WUSTL insignia apparel and gifts (souvenirs, coffee mugs, bears) as well as greeting cards, health and beauty aids, dorm/school/computer supplies, and more. Customized freshly baked birthday cakes can be ordered by friends or family. It is a great place for students to do their shopping without leaving the campus. The shop is located in Umrath House on the South 40. The business committee is responsible for the oversight of this not-for-profit store, which funds scholarships and student projects.

Education Committee

WSWU sponsors the Women’s Society lecture series with five lectures offered annually by distinguished Washington University professors on current topics of interest to members and guests. The education committee selects the faculty speakers for these lectures and also recommends speakers for the chancellor’s lecture.

In the spring, the Women’s Society invites a woman of national recognition to the university to speak at the memorial lecture established in 1988 in honor of Adele Chomeau Starbird, dean of women at the university from 1931 to 1959. This event is co-sponsored with the university as one of the Assembly Series lectures. The Assembly Series director works with the WSWU education committee in selecting and obtaining a speaker.

Funding Committee

The funding committee reviews proposals and recommends funding for university community projects. One or two committee members volunteer to serve as liaison(s) for each approved project and are able to encourage greater WSWU involvement with the project and the students. In addition, university representatives of approved projects are invited to board meetings and lectures to increase awareness of the project’s activities.

Membership Committee

The membership committee enlists new WSWU members who will ably support or actively participate in its activities. The committee is always interested in suggestions for potential new members and for increasing diversity in the organization.

Composing a Life Committee

The Composing a Life committee plans an annual panel event for undergraduate and graduate women focused on life after graduation. The panel features women from various fields who share their personal stories and advice on how to successfully combine careers, families, and community activities.

Leadership Award Committee

Annually, the Women’s Society recognizes one or more graduating senior women with the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award. The awardees are women who have contributed significantly to the Washington University community and who have exceptional potential for future leadership. The leadership award committee oversees the selection process.

Marketing & Communications Committee

The marketing & communications committee identifies communication channels within and outside the university community to feature WSWU’s mission and programs. It also plans to develop interactive communications, marketing and sales strategies.

Scholarship Committee

The scholarship committee provides ongoing oversight to the selection process of the Elizabeth Gray Danforth scholars. Each year, the Women’s Society sponsors a two-year full-tuition Washington University scholarship for an outstanding transfer student from the St. Louis Community College District.