Roanoke Valley Branch Interest Groups

In addition to the programs presented at our monthly meetings held at the Community Room at Tanglewood Mall, our branch offers other opportunities for our members to connect. The Roanoke Valley Branch of AAUW encompasses several interest groups, including monthly book clubs for mornings, afternoons, and evenings, a theater group, and a safari group. If you would like to be included in one or more of these interest groups, contact the respective coordinator. For more information about each group, click the links below.

Afternoon Book Group | Epicurean Lunch Group | Theater Group | Safari Group | Barriers and Bias Study Group

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AFTERNOON BOOK GROUPimg_afternoonbookgroup

Coordinator: Melody Blankenship (344-0313 or 556-7971)

Unless otherwise noted in blue, all meetings will be at the Tanglewood Mall Community Room next to the elevator on the upper level. Meetings will be at 2:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. Coffee will be available and volunteers will provide refreshments. Call the coordinator if you have questions.

September 10: Melody Blankenship will review The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
October 18: Cancelled
November 15: Vicky Piper will review The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
December 20: Heddie Sumner will review Still Alice by Lisa Genova
January 17: Beth Ann Rossi 
will review One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
February 21: Beth Ann Rossi will review Drinking the Rain: A Memoir by Alix Kates Shulman and Two Old Women by Velma Wallis
March 21: Lucy Stinson will review The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
April 18: Heddie Sumner will review One Drop, My Father’s Hidden Life and Family Secrets by Bliss Broyard
May 16: Peggy Shifflett will review All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
June 18: Melody Blankenship will review The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
July 15: Peggy Shifflett will review Cahas Mountain by Linda Kay Simmons
August 15: Melody Blankenship will review The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
September 19: Vicky Piper will review Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith

img_fundraiser_amazonWe created a virtual book store to showcase the books that will be included in the book group discussions. By purchasing your books through this virtual book store you will be supporting the efforts of our branch to provide scholarships for women and girls in the Roanoke Valley.

Click here for past book group lists:
Morning: 2015-20162014-2015 | 2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-2012
Afternoon: 2015-20162014-2015 | 2013-2014
Evening: 2013-2014  | 2012-2013  | 2011-2012

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Coordinators: Marilyn Hubbard (343-6838) and Kathy Ward (728-0160)

The Epicureans group provides time for members to get to know each other better. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to one of the coordinators one week before the date. Please note that the day of the week varies. Phone numbers are provided so that those with special diets may call ahead to discuss their needs.

Meeting time is 11:30 am unless prior notification is sent out.
Watch newsletters or emails for changes. 

September 19, 2016 Second Helping Restaurant 1502 Williamson Rd. Roanoke
October 21, 2016 Bellacino’s Restaurant 4373 Starkey Rd. Roanoke
November 21, 2016 Olive Garden 1925 Valley View Blvd, NW Roanoke
December 12, 2016 Beamer’s 25 357 Salem Ave Roanoke
January 16, 2017 Montano’s 3733 Franklin Rd Roanoke
February 17, 2017 Alejandro’s Restaurant 7212 Williamson Rd. Roanoke
March 13, 2017 Carlos Restaurant 4167 Electric Rd. Roanoke
April 17, 2017 Annie Moore’s Pub 3555 Electric Rd. Roanoke
May 19, 2017 McAllister’s Deli 2063 Colonial Ave #132
June 17, 2017 Special event – Fundraiser for LOA at Jennie Sue Murdock’s home at Richfield’s Retirement Community 3789 Knollridge Rd Salem

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img_groups_theaterTHEATER GROUP

Coordinator: Gloria Elliott (384-0428)

Our Theater Group attends local performing arts events, primarily those presented by Roanoke College, Hollins University, Showtimers, The Attic, and MMT.

January 19, 2017: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare OR Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Roanoke College Dining Room Optional dinner @ 5:30 PM


Each year new works from HTI are given world-premiere and workshop
productions on MMT’s professional stages, fulfilling Roanoke’s long-standing
enthusiasm and support for the development of new works. 2-3 plays are
produced, sell out, and are performed in January & February.
Play #1: January 22 (or 29th), 2017 2 PM Sunday
Play #2: February 12, 2017 2 PM Sunday
Possible beverage and dessert or early dinner afterwards

June 2017: Showtimers

Contact the coordinator for details.

Click here for past plays attended by the Theater Group

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img_groups_safariSAFARI GROUP

Coordinator: Pat Hales (

The Safari Group allows us to be a tourist in our own region. These day trips give us a chance to discover the many sights and histories of towns and cities in Virginia.

This year’s trips: 

June 3: Spring Safari: Wilderness Road Museum, Newbern, Virginia

Past trips include:

  • Hopkins Gap with lunch at Turner Hams: learn more about Appalachia country with this inspirational and educational trip to Hopkins Gap which will include lunch at Turner Hams and a visit to the Dayton Markets.
  • Southwest Virginia: historical Saltville, VA, Museum of the Middle Appalachians, lunch at Heartwood in Abingdon and a Barter Theater production of “Mary Poppins”.
  • Poplar Forest & Liberty Station: Thomas Jefferson enjoyed “the solitude of a hermit” at his year-round retreat near Lynchburg, Virginia”. Experience the history, restoration and events at Jefferson’s second home.
  • “Bluff, Bridge, and Canal” – Buchanan: The quiet town of Buchanan is full of history. We learned the origins of the Kanawha Canal; walked across the James River on the old wooden foot bridge; visited a railroad dining car that is now a B & B; took a scenic drive to Button’s Bluff to see the railroad tracks that go through a mountain, and more.
  • “Dig, Mold Construct” – Blue Ridge: Our tour included Boxley Quarries – the quarry is a mini Grand Canyon and one day will be reclaimed as a lake; General Shale where we toured the plant, peeked into the kiln, and were surprised at the many different “recipes” for brick; Central Water’s water treatment plant in Hardy.

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img_groups_safariBARRIERS AND BIAS – study group

Coordinators: Jennie Sue Murdock (389-6733) and Gail Burruss (725-5752)

“The Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women In Leadership Interest Group of AAUW Roanoke Valley Branch will examine the causes of women’s under-representation in leadership roles in business, politics, and education and suggests what we can do to change the status quo. This is a most timely interest group and we hope you will join us:


  • Wednesday, November 2, 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 30, 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 22, 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 29, 2:00 p.m.

Where: Home of Jennie Sue Murdock, 3789 Knollridge Road, Salem, VA 24153

Directions: Get on West Main Street in Salem, continue west past Exit 137 to 81. You will pass Northwest Hardware and Fort Lewis Elementary School on your right. Continue about a mile. Turn right at the traffic light at Allegheny Drive;; continue about 1/2 mile and turn left at Knollridge Road (back entrance to Richfield Retirement Community). Turn around and face east (back toward town) and park along the street in front of the first house on the left. Call 389-6733 if needed.