Welcome to the Harrisonburg (VA) Branch of AAUW!

1929 – 2023

“Welcome” to the Harrisonburg Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  AAUW is the oldest national organization for women, founded in 1881, whose mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research.  Our Harrisonburg Branch was founded in 1929.  By joining AAUW, you belong to a community that breaks through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.

Currently Harrisonburg, Winchester, and Greater Richmond are the only branches in the Northwest District.  There are no longer any branches in Staunton, Waynesboro, nor Charlottesville.

Membership in AAUW is open to anyone holding a two-year associate degree or higher degree from an accredited college or university, or equivalent (RN).  The Harrisonburg Branch offers the opportunity to meet and participate in a variety of activities with an interesting group of educated women.  Your dues and donations also support national and state AAUW work in education and legal advocacy.  Please visit (and ‘like’) our Facebook page at “AAUW Harrisonburg, VA”.  We actively promote equal rights for women, as well as equal pay. Registering all citizens to get out the vote is another priority.

Membership in AAUW is open to all women from the greater area, in Rockingham County and beyond, who have a minimum of a two-year associate degree or equivalent.  This is our only requirement for membership.  Men are invited to join as well.

We are in the Northwest District together with the Winchester Branch and the Greater Richmond Branch, with whom we share district meetings on topics of interest.  We belong to a state as well as national organization of AAUW.  Please consult their websites and newsletters as well.  (See their links on the right side of this page.)

In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks an inclusive membership,
workforce, leadership team and board of directors. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, geographical location, national origin, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or
socioeconomic status.

To join our branch, go to “Members” and then to “Membership”.  Click on “Membership Application Form” at the bottom of the page. Then follow directions.  Dues are paid annually, usually on July 1.

Currently, we offer monthly programs on timely topics that are almost always open to the public, two monthly book clubs, informal lunchtime discussion groups, a scholarship to a local college-bound student, and support an annual STEM Career Conference (“MadiSTEM”) for Young Women, grades 6-12, sponsored by James Madison University.

We also make a generous annual donation to the greatest need fund of our national organization, to support their research and fellowships.

Among recent activities, we have  handed out voter registration forms at local Naturalization ceremonies in the federal courthouse, at JMU, and at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market.

Our members continue to be activists in the community on AAUW’s Public Policy priorities, such as the ratification of the ERA amendment and activities on diversity and multi-culturalism.  We participate in the annual “International Women’s Day” celebration in downtown Harrisonburg, at which members Sue Gier and Sylvia Rogers have served as speakers; and members Cindy Hunter and Heather Banks are organizers.

Recently, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, 200 bottles of hand sanitizer were donated by our members, in response to Mayor Deanna Reed’s appeal for “Care Kits” for vulnerable members of the community.  Mayor Reed is our first female African American to become Mayor of Harrisonburg.  She is an honorary member of our Harrisonburg AAUW Branch.

In December, we donated disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to the Boys & Girls Club at the Simms Continuing Education Center in Harrisonburg.  Several members have also donated clothing and toiletries to the Homeless Shelter, “Open Doors”, at the former Red Front Store in Harrisonburg, as well as to “First Step”, a shelter for women experiencing domestic violence; and also to “Gemeinshaft House for Women” on South High Street.

Since we are no longer serving beverages and snacks at our meetings, we are donating those supplies to First Step.

It has been a tradition for us to donate books to the Massanutten Regional Library in memory of deceased members, most recently for Ella Pascale, Terry Showalter, Sylvia Moore, Mary MacMurray,  Jane Bowers, and Marcia Brown.


Because AAUW Greatest Needs funding is unrestricted, it gives AAUW the most flexibility to address the challenges today’s women face and seek new programs and opportunities. AAUW appreciates every day and dollar our members spend working for us, and we’re particularly grateful for these donations that give us the flexibility to maximize your impact. Donate today

Please ‘connect’ with our AAUW Links on the sidebar of our front page, to learn what is happening at the national,  state and district levels of our organization.


Schedule of ZOOM Meetings of our Branch:

Board Meetings:  Held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month (every other month) at 3pm.

Diversity Book Discussion Meetings:  Held on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 3pm via ZOOM.  A list of books to read for 2022-2023 is posted on our Book Club page.

Great Decisions Book Discussion Meetings:  Held on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 3pm via ZOOM.   Contact Laura Zarrugh for purchasing the book, and future dates.  A list of topics for 2022 is posted on our Book Club page.


AAUW Stands Against Racism

The following is a statement from AAUW CEO Kimberly Churches

AAUW joins the country in mourning the losses of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other people of color who have been unjustly killed across our nation. Our country needs healing. But healing will only come with justice. As an organization we condemn racism.

Systemic racism is firmly rooted in the U.S. and today’s injustices mirror our shameful history — from police brutality to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. There can be no justice or equality when Black and Brown communities are seen as less deserving of basic human and civil rights.

On behalf of our 170,000 members and supporters, we commit to fighting for justice, long-term and lasting change, and we stand in solidarity against racism. We also acknowledge that as an organization we have our own work to do.

And, as a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we will work to advance the policies and systemic changes identified in the New Era of Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing and Vision for Justice platform.


                           AAUW Harrisonburg Board Members – as of July 1, 2022

President   Laura Zarrugh
Finance Officer    Sue Gier
Co-VP’s for Membership & Publicity  Rosemarie Palmer & Kim Shipe
VP for Programs   Mary Perramond & Judy Sullivan
Secretary   Cindy Crim
Scholarship   Patricia Warner, Sylvia Rogers, & Kim Shipe
Public Policy   Sylvia Rogers
JMU Liaison   Samantha Collier
Webmaster & Facebook    Sylvia Rogers & Rosemarie Palmer
Archivist   Susan Wheaton
Book Clubs Chair  Laura Zarrugh
Yearbook  Sue Gier & Rosemarie Palmer (a listing of our members is in our annual Yearbook and also on our website, which requires a privacy password that is in your Yearbook)



For additional Information:
Contact Sylvia Rogers at srogers1nm@aol.com