Interest Groups and Committees

Our Branch has a number of interest groups and committees available to members. If you are interested in helping with any of these interest groups and committees, send an email to the contact.

Interest Groups

State Theatre Volunteer Group
Noon-3:00 PM, second Thursday and third Saturday, year round
Contact: Bonnie,
There are 15–20 members on the State Theatre Volunteer list. Twice a month, we don our AAUW teeshirts (or any white shirt/sweater), black slacks/skirts, and the State Theatre vests for our ushering and concessions shift.

On Saturdays, our shift follows the morning’s usually sold-out children’s movie, so we are busy putting away booster seats and tidying the theatre to prepare for the 1 pm show. On Thursdays, we prepare for the first show of the day.

Jobs include ushering (includes taking tickets, running the vacuum and carpet sweeper, checking the bathrooms), concessions (usually assigned to popcorn OR drinks OR cash register), and other general duties as assigned.

About a week before our assigned day, an email goes out asking who is available for our next shift.

Verna Mae Daytime Book Group

Contact: Maryln,
10:15–noon, last Wednesday of each month from August to November, January to June.
The venue varies. We welcome newcomers to the group.

The group chooses the following year’s books in June. Each member is expected to lead the group once. She selects one book to review and research background information to present to the group. Books selected for TC Reads and the Great Michigan Read are always included.

Schedule September 2019–June 2020

  • Sept. 25: The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • Oct. 30: Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Nov. 20 (note third Wednesday: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  • Jan. 29: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Feb. 26: Little Fires by Celest Ng
  • March 25: Blasphemy by Sherman Alexi
  • April 29: Reader’s choice for poetry
  • May 27: Gradual Clearing by Karen Anderson
  • June 24: The Way We Are Now by Anthony Trollope

Thursday Evening Book Group

Second Thursday, 6:30 in member’s homes.
Contact: Libbet Terrell,
The group meets the second Thursday from September–June, 7 pm, at one of our member’s homes.

We discuss the book selection for that month with the help of a discussion leader.
Note that our June meeting date has been changed to June 17.

Schedule September 2019–June 2020

  • Sept. 12: Varina by Charles Frazier. Discussion leader & hostess: Sondra Hardy. Co-hostess: Ellie Shaw.
  • Oct. 10: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Discussion leader & hostess: Deanna.
  • Nov. 14: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. Discussion leader: Libbet Terrell. Hostess: Judy Weaver. Co-hostess: Libbet Terrell.
  • Dec. 12: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Discussion leader: Lorah Wright Macintosh. Hostess: Bonnie Willings. Cookie exchange
  • Jan. 9: 1984 by George Orwell. Discussion leader & hostess & co-hostess: Irene Brown
  • Feb 13: A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi. Discussion leader: Judy Weaver. Hostess: Candy Ashley. Co-hostess: Nadine Dolan.
  • Mar 12: Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. Discussion leader: Heide McNichols. Hostess: To be determined. Co-hostess: Heide McNichols.
  • April 9: The Woman’s Hour by Elaine F. Weiss. Discussion leader: Bonnie Willings. Hostess: To be determined. Co-hostess: Margaret Jones.
  • May 14: Reader’s choice of any book by David Sedaris. Discussion leader: Candy Ashley. Hostess: Ellie Shaw. Co-hostess: Joey Johnson.
  • June 11: Selection time. Hostess: Chris Walter. Salad Supper

Our book list is available at Horizon Books and at Brilliant Books in Traverse City. Mention our group for a 10% discount. The Traverse Area District Library also has our book list.

NightReaders Book Group

Third Tuesday, 6:15 in a member’s home or restaurant.
Contact: Barbara Wallace or Cindy Hull
We discuss the book selection for that month with the help of a discussion leader. We also attend the National Writers Series. They are included in the list below. See newsletter calendar for more information.

Schedule September 2019–June 2020

  • Sept. 17: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
  • Oct. 15: Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
  • Nov. 19: Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
  • Dec. 17: The Huntress by Kate Quinn
  • Jan. 21: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Feb. 18: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
  • March 17: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  • April 21: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  • May 19: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly
  • June 16: Book Selections for September 2020–June 2021.

Our book list is available at Horizon Books and at Brilliant Books in Traverse City. Mention our group for a 10% discount. The Traverse Area District Library also has our book list.

Poetry Group

 Contact: Shirley,
Third Friday at Bud’s at Interlochen. Lunch at noon, discussion following.

Meets for a study of poets, poetry, and the art of writing poetry. Each month one member will present a short summary of a poet and read a small selection of the poet’s work. Discussion will follow. We also will discuss the art of writing poetry for ourselves and may share our work with one another. This is a no-pressure group and we welcome anyone with an interest in poetry whether they have studied poetry or are new to the form. No writing is required but perhaps an exposure to poetry may inspire!


Contact: Shirley,
Second and fourth Wednesdays of each month year-round at the Traverse City Country Club.
Arrive to order lunch by 11:30 am. Play bridge until 3 pm. Free parking at the Country Club. Reservations with the chair are necessary.

Current Events Group

 Contacts: Margaret Jones, and Sandy Seppala-Gyr,
Meets the Monday following the International Affairs Forum at NMC (see next listing), 1–3 pm, home of Sandy Seppala-Gyr
We discuss the topic from IAF and other current events at home and abroad. Attendance at IAF is not a requirement for attending Current Events.

2019: Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Nov. 25 (note: meeting place TBD), Dec. lunch date TBD
2020: Feb. 24, March 23, April 20, May 25, June 22

  • International Affairs Forum (not affiliated with AAUW). Go to the site to see information about speakers, topics, and dates. IAF meets on the third Thursday, Sept–November & February–June. Reception at 5:15 PM; lecture at 6 PM. Milliken Auditorium in the Dennos Museum. Cost: $15 (students & current teachers are free)
    Forums are sponsored by the International Affairs Forum and NMC.
    Contact: Sandy,

Lunch at Lobdell’s

Contact: Marlene Smith,
Lunch at Lobdell’s Restaurant of the Great Lakes Culinary Institute

Wednesdays, noon sharp for 12:15 PM seating, Hagerty Center, second floorContact and reservations:
Starts again in February 2020 when the Culinary Institute at NMC is back in session.This social group, originally organized for working women, meets for lunch at Lobdell’s, which is “A Learning Restaurant, part of NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute” located in the Hagerty Center. We meet at least six times a year.
We make reservations for 16 people. Reservations are required; cancellations must be made 72 hours in advance or the lunch cost must be paid by whomever cancelled (we are charged for the number of reservations).
Lobdell’s offers the best views of the Bay in town, outstanding service, and a very interesting and delicious cuisine. All members are invited to join us for lunch.
See newsletter for contact information.

K2P2 Needlers Group

Second Monday, 1–3 pm, home of Sandy Seppala-Gyr
Contact: Sandy,
We meet the second Monday of each month. Occasionally, that changes so be sure to be on the meeting list so you’ll receive an email with the latest information.

We gather each month for two hours of guilt-free needling. Bring whatever project you’re working on: knitting, needlepoint, crochet, quilting, cross-stitch, or any other project. Snacks are welcome but optional. Coffee and tea provided.

Lunchin’ Around

Contact: Marge Tipsword,
and Sandy Seppala-Gyr,
Third Friday, 11:30 am at a local restaurant.

This lunch group is about the company and conversation and not about the food. We get together every month just for the fun of it.
Make reservations with chair/contact by Wednesday noon prior to the lunch date so that she can make accurate reservations .If you have to cancel, contact the chair immediately and/or contact the restaurant if it’s the lunch day. Also, we will accommodate all who attend although a reservation is most welcome.
We also ask the Question of the Lunch to kick off discussion.

  • January 17. West End Tavern. Question of the Lunch: What’s on your bucket list for 2020? Also, share the highlights (or low) of the December holidays.
  • February 21. TBD
  • March 20. TBD
  • April 17. TBD
  • May 15. TBD
  • June 19. TBD.


Second and Last Monday, 1–3 pm
Contact: Joyce Jasinski:  or Sandy Seppala-Gyr,

We go on a day trip every few months. In 2016, we traveled the Tunnel of Trees before lunch at Legs Inn and toured the holiday houses in Cadillac. In 2017, we went on the Friendly Garden Club tour and went on a ‘color tour’ of Leelanau Peninsula. In December of 2017, 2018, and 2019, we toured holiday houses in Cadillac followed by lunch at Hermann’s European Restaurant & Cafe. In 2019, we went to Manistee to tour an historical home, go to the Christmas Tree display, shopping, and a lovely lunch.

We welcome suggestions for a day trip. We are considering a tour to either (or both) Dow Gardens and/or the Whiting Forest with its longest canopy walk, 1,400 feet long, soaring up to 40 feet above ground in Midland, or Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. There is a Wednesday high tea in Bellaire also is on the list. Have other suggestions? First daytrip will be when the snow is gone.

Mah Jongg Group

Contact: Cindy,
Dates, time, and location TBD once we have a group formed

We are hoping to continue our May Jongg interest group this year if we have enough players. If you would like to join in, contact Cindy.
Mah Jongg is a complex game; it is not the same as the computer game. If you would like to learn, Cindy can help you find an instructor. Classes also are held at the Senior Center from time to time.

Cowell Cancer Center Helpers

Contact: Libbet Terrell,

We do not meet on a regular basis, but we take a guided tour of the Cancer Center annually. Participation is most appreciated by patients going through treatment at the Cancer Center, and the time commitment is minimal. About once a year, each volunteer goes shopping for small bottles of purified water and individually wrapped organic snacks and delivers them to the concierge at the front door of the Center. The cost is about $20, once a year.

Traverse City Film Festival Film Sponsorship

Contact: Bonnie,
Ten AAUW members, mostly from the book groups, combine their resources annually to sponsor one of the films in the Traverse City Film Festival. AAUW Book Group, listed as a sponsor in TCFF publications, is thanked by the host introducing the film, and is given screen credit before the film rolls.

  • 2019 Film: Circus of Books
  • 2018 Film: Julia
  • 2017 Film:
  • 2016 Film: 3000 Nights
    2015 Film: Tangerines
    2014 Film: The Lunchbox
    2013 Film: No
    2012: Film: Sexy Baby
    2011 Film: Rid of Me
    2010 Film: 12th and Delaware


  • AAUW Funds
    Contact: Etta,
  • Books for Schools
    Contact: Mary K,
  • Scholarships
    Contact: Etta,
    Minnie Votruba Moore Scholarship
  • Membership
    Contact: Nadine Dolan,  & Kathy Cipko,
    Recruiting new members
    Meeting the needs and interests of our members
  • Program
    Contact: Suzanne Sorkin,
    Planning and organizing branch meetings
    Networking programs with other women’s organizations
  • Public Policy
    Contact: Cindy Hull,
    Keeps Branch updated on gender equity issues and supports the Association and State AAUW positions.
  • Communications and Public Relations
    Contact: Reba Leiding,
    Provides information and advertising of branch programs and activities to the public. Editor for newsletter and webmaster for website.
  • Fundraising
    Contact: Shirley,
    Organizes activities to raise money for scholarships, projects, and branch activities.
  • Hospitality and Membership Outreach
    Contact: Darlene,
    Helps provide the refreshments at branch meetings.
    Helps with table decorations.