Welcome to the Harrisonburg (VA) Branch of AAUW!

1929 – 2019

“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 on July 1.

Currently, we offer programs that are open to the public, two monthly book clubs,  informal lunchtime discussion groups (put on hold during the Covid 19 pandemic), a scholarship to a local college-bound student, and an annual STEM Conference for Young Women co-sponsored with James Madison University (cancelled in 2021).  During the pandemic, all meetings meet via ZOOM.

We hand 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 Womens Day March” in downtown Harrisonburg, with some of our members serving as speakers.

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.

We donated five books to the Massanutten Regional Library in memory of our recently deceased members:  Ella Pascale, Terry Showalter, Sylvia Moore, Mary MacMurray, and Jane Bowers.  This has been our tradition.

Our honorary member, Deanna Reed, will participate on a panel at the State Conference on Sunday, March 14 at 3pm to 5:30pm (virtually).  The panel will include State Senator Jen Kiggans and Chair Phyllis J. Randall of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.  The panel is entitled, “Women Make a Difference! As Elected Officials in Virginia”.  Mayor Reed is the first female African American mayor of Harrisonburg, Virginia.



——————————————————————————————————————————————Black History Month – Recognition

(9/25/20) The City of Alexandria Announces the Installation of Panels Recognizing the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Decision and the Law Firm of Cohen, Cohen, and Hirschkop 

The City of Alexandria is delighted to announce the installation of a new interpretive kiosk by the Office of Historic Alexandria, commemorating the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision legalizing interracial marriage throughout the United States, and the Law Firm of Cohen, Cohen, and Hirschkop, which represented the Lovings. The law firm was located at 110 N. Royal St. the day the decision was announced.

We acknowledge the recent publication of the book, “Lucy Frances Simms, From Slavery to Revered Public Service“, by local historian Dale E. MacAllister, 2020.
(She was a beloved teacher in local segregated public schools for over 50 years.)


For help in negotiating your salary or raise, please access our popular “Work Smart” program online at this link:  https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/salary/


Schedule of ZOOM Meetings of our Branch during the Covid 19 pandemic:

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.

No meeting in July.

August 19 at 3pm:  “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah

Great Decisions Book Discussion Meetings:  Held on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 1:30pm.   Contact Laura Zarrugh for topics and future dates.


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

President   Laura Zarrugh (2018-20)
Co-President   vacant
Finance Officer    Sue Gier (2019-21)
VP for Membership  Rosemarie Palmer & Kim Shipe
VP for Programs   Mary Perramond
Co-Secretaries   Marcia Brown (2019-2021) & Elayne Smith (2018-20)
Scholarship   Patti Warner
Public Policy   Sylvia Rogers
Hospitality     Darlene Baugh
JMU Liaison   Samantha Collier
Webmaster & Facebook    Sylvia Rogers & Rosemarie Palmer
Public Relations    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)

Northwest District Representative
Sylvia Rogers – Harrisonburg Branch




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