Augustana College is hosting its 5th Annual Shades of Beauty Summit

Rock Island, IL (KWQC) – Augustana College honors women in the Quad Cities by creating a space for women who are making a difference in their communities.

On Sunday afternoon, the Gerber Center hosted the Beauty Shades Summit with the theme “Brunch and Bloom”.

The summit began with lunch, before a panel discussion featuring several Augustana professors and Moline Mayor Sangeeta Rayapati.

“I think this expression of blooming where you’re planted is about recognizing the space and time you’re in and who you belong to,” Rayapati said.

Rayapati goes on to describe how she had to change paths several times during her studies, switching to music after three years and later finding another path in politics, becoming the first African American woman to serve as mayor of Moline.

Stories like Rayapati’s are what prompted Shades of Beauty founder Ashley Allen to start this discussion in the Quad Cities.

“Every year it gets harder to fill, but I would say we have over 200 women attend our events every year,” Allen said. “It shows what’s needed here on our campus, but it’s also a space where we can just take time out and just be women and be empowered by other women.”

One of the many students in attendance was Mackenzie Lauridsen, a freshman at Augustana, who chimed in with the message of the debate.

“It’s really encouraging that this message is getting out to so many people and that we’re doing something like this,” Lauridsen said.

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