Agent of Change Award

Since 1984, AAUW-IL has presented the Agent of Change Award annually to recognize an exceptional branch member or AAUW member who has served as a catalyst to bring about positive societal change.

Congratulations to the 2024 Agent of Change:
Rosie McVay   (Batavia-Geneva-St Charles )

AAUW-IL is pleased to recognize Rosie McVay as the recipient of the 2024 Agent of Change Award. Rosie received the award at the spring AAUW-IL convention in April 2024.

In 2019, after serving as President of the Batavia-Geneva-St Charles branch, Rosie
recognized the need for a branch group that was focused on action-oriented programs
representing the mission and vision of AAUW. Her response to this need was to launch a
group she named Connections with the express purpose of guiding the branch to build
bridges with diverse women and begin the process of healing the divisive atmosphere in
our community.

The Connections Group activities started with readings and discussions about
the basis of the political divide and potential methods to reduce conflict. Branch
members also sent postcard communications to state and national legislators to thank
them for supporting and passing bipartisan legislation.

In response to the rise in hostilities experienced by school and library boards, Rosie
formed small teams of Connections members to attend school and library board
meetings in Batavia, Geneva, and St Charles starting with the 2022/2023 school year.

In winter 2023, Rosie brought an article about the Dignity Index to the Connections
meeting, suggesting that this process of coding civil discourse would be a good way to make a difference in how we talk to one another. The Connections group has been
studying and practicing rating speech for approximately one year and we see the impact
it has on our own communication skills. Recently, Rosie suggested that the Connections
group develop a Dignity Index presentation that we could take to other AAUW branches
and community groups such as the League of Women Voters.

In her nomination of Rosie, Maureen Brandon noted “Rosie’s leadership of Connections has brought visibility to our AAUW colleagues and the Batavia-Geneva-St Charles communities. She is a model of supporting women, consistently encouraging other members, demonstrating kindness, empathy, and positivity. She has linked us with the national Dignity Index movement with enormous potential to bring visibility to AAUW mission and values across the state and nation. I am very excited to be part of the Dignity Index presentations. We would not be here without Rosie’s leadership.”

Agent of Change Award Committee:  Sue Topp, Jennifer Urish, Danielle Byron, Andi Danis, Lori Switzer

View list of past Agent of Change Awardees