On April 7, 1970, through the efforts of Carol Smith, thirty-four college graduates chartered the Fairport Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at the Greater Rochester Area Branch house on East Avenue. The branch charter members and the past presidents of the branch are listed on our website. The first ten years was spent actively educating the members though study topics, community service, socializing with each other, bridge and gourmet interest groups. In an effort to encourage membership from a larger geographic area, we changed our branch name to Fairport Area in 1983. A branch banner was designed in 1990 using a packet boat as a symbol of the canal villages and surrounding areas from which we draw our membership.
In 1971 the Fairport Branch worked in conjunction with the Perinton Greenlands Association for a Waste Glass collection Station which expanded to include newspapers. 1972 saw the development of the Summer Library program which opened two elementary school libraries, two days a week for two hours and included a story hour for four and five year old children. A Shopping Guide was developed in 1972 that listed two dozen services with names and shops for the study topic: Consumerism.
The Voter Factor Sheet was devised in 1973 to inform residents of the school budge and school board candidates. This service to the community continued until 1978 when the Fairport School District began publishing information on school budgets and board candidates. A fundraiser and community service in 1973 was a composite Perinton map.
Investigation and promotion of bike paths and sidewalks in 1974 led to Pathways, a map of paths in Perinton that were developed over a period of several years. The public as also informed in 1974 about problems with cable TV operations. A group of members began teaching a Life Planning Course to high school girls that was modified and present to junior high girls and a workshop for a local Girl Scout troop.
Study topics were developed by national headquarters in 1977 and members of the branch studies studied different topics or issues until 1991. Return to Reading was a program organized by branch members in 1985 that developed a Summer Read Aloud program in Fairport and Pittsford schools and sponsored several Reading, Writing, and Literacy Fairs from 1987 to 1989. The branch implemented a Career Shadowing program in 1990 that continued until 1995. Story Walk is a partnership project established with the Town of Perinton in 2010. Our branch program in September of 2011 on hydrofracking energized three branch members who founded the Citizens Alliance for a Pristine Perinton (CAPP). CAPP presented to the Town of Perinton the results of their research on hydrofracking to the Town of Perinton in March 2012. The Town of Perinton adopted a local law banning hydrofracking within town limits in September of 2012.
The branch started educational foundations fundraisers in 1978 and these have continued and evolved to fundraising for The Eleanor Roosevelt Fund, the Legal Advocacy Fund, and now AAUW funds.
The branch has offered small interest groups such as book, gourmet, bridge, antiques/outings, Great Decisions, and lunch groups to foster member interactions since the founding of the branch. The membership brochure describes our current interest groups.
The Fairport Area branch has sent several representatives to the New York State Division Board. Included among those Division positions are President, Treasurer, Study Topics Chairs, Task Force Chairs, Project Director, Project Wide facilitator, Director of Communications, Editor of FOCUS, and College/University Director. Individuals from the branch who have filled these positions are listed on our website.