2021 Barrett Ladies' Tea focuses on positivity and resilience

2021 Barrett Ladies' Tea Positivitea sign

A large sign called out the theme of the event: "Positivi-TEA."


A rainstorm did little to dampen the spirit of the 10th annual Barrett Ladies’ Tea.

In fact, after a short downpour, the event’s theme “Positivi-TEA and Resilience” rang clear among the 15 online attendees and 50 students and staff who attended in person in the Great Court of Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University’s Tempe complex last month.

“The theme was an ode to the resilient nature of Barrett students and a way to applaud all their hard work this year in the face of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Cathy Gutierrez, Barrett Student Services program coordinator.

This year marked a significant milestone for the Barrett Ladies’ Tea. It was the 10th anniversary of the signature event, produced and hosted annually by Barrett Student Services to bring the community of Barrett women together to celebrate and network with each other.

In years past, the tea has been held in the historic Old Main on the ASU Tempe campus. This year, the event was held outside in the open air to allow for social distancing. The venue and décor added a fresh and fanciful aura to the event.

Cassandra Aska, deputy vice president and dean of students at the ASU Tempe campus, was the keynote speaker. She drew on the theme throughout her talk, focusing on the importance of personal empowerment, positivity, resilience and community involvement.

Barrett Ladies' Tea keynote speaker Cassandra Aska

Cassandra Aska, deputy vice president and dean of students at the ASU Tempe campus, was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Barrett Ladies' Tea. Photo courtesy Barrett, The Honors College

Students seated throughout the expansive greens of the Great Court connected with peers while they discussed resilience strategies, prompted by questions at their tables. Online participants had breakout rooms in which they addressed the same concepts and questions.

Even the entertainment, provided by a quartet from Music for Healing, a performing group founded by Barrett Honors student Danielle Brister, carried a positive note.

Brister, a junior triple-majoring in chemistry, biology and global health, said the group has about 30 student members — some honors students and some not, as well as some music majors – who love playing music.

The aim of Music for Healing is to share the power of music through fun, soothing and interactive performances that help listeners de-stress, Brister said.

Another highlight of the event were goodie bags filled with an antique spoon engraved with "Barrett Ladies’ Tea," a teacup shaped cookie made by a female-owned business in celebration of Women’s Herstory Month, an envelope with a couple tea bags and a note with a positive message.

Feedback about the event was overwhelmingly favorable.

“It was wonderful! The atmosphere was great even though it started raining, and it was lovely to talk to other women. Everyone was really friendly!” one student commented.

“The speaker was very upfront and honest with today’s issues and what's going on in the world. I loved her positivity, realness and enthusiasm,” another said.

See photos of the Barrett Ladies’ Tea and a short video of the event.

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