ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: student perspective

Treat Yo’ Self: Activist Self-Care

Working to create heal communities and comfortable spaces for everyone can be draining and we need to make sure we are making time for ourselves so that we don’t burn out. You’re doing amazing work, just don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. This past weekend my friends hosted a feminist brunch where we were able to talk about all of the stresses of activism and living in patriarchal society. We talked about everything from how Emma Watson’s feminism speech for the UN didn’t quite do us justice, how all the white boy organizers love Chris Crass and why some of us are not on board with his allyship, and about how we can keep spaces feminist within organizing while still being inclusive. As activists who are constantly devoting ourselves to… Read more »

What Fighting Sexual Assault Looks Like on My Campus

It’s no surprise to anyone even halfway paying attention to the news as of late that campus sexual assault is a buzzy topic right now. From the release of 55 universities under investigation by the federal government, to the viral picture of an alumni refusing to donate until their alma mater addresses sexual assault, to college students posting a rapist list of students who were found guilty yet never charged—sexual assault on campuses is causing a huge national discussion. Much of this media attention is credited to the White House itself assembling a task force on sexual assault. In April, the White House released a report on how campuses can combat sexual assault. These guidelines, and the task force recommendations (as well as the reason the White House even assembled… Read more »

Bureaucracy Busting: LGBTQ Efforts at UT-Austin

Earlier this week, the Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights extended the Title IX clause to protect transgender students from discrimination in schools. The OCR explained, “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity…” This is a monumental step for trans* folks as transgender students face sweeping forms of discrimination, bullying, and violence in the classroom. Though this is a huge step for the LGBTQ movement, when it comes grassroots approaches, how effective is youth advocacy and organizing? At Texas universities, it has become clear that top-down approaches will be the only way to create effective change.

The Story of Gender Inclusive Housing at Ohio State

Starting fall of 2014, students attending Ohio State University’s main campus will have the option of living in gender inclusive housing – a living situation that welcomes all genders. After over a year of research, meetings and emails, gender inclusive housing will be a reality on OSU’s main campus in Columbus. The effort to bring gender inclusive housing (GIH) to Ohio State was spearheaded by student activists Katie Matuska, Chase Ledin and Ben Weekes. There were others (students and a faculty member) involved too whom I did not speak with. M. Gulick (a past graduate student), Chantel Lowe and Matthew Duncan and faculty member Dr. Moddelmog and her research assistant Madison all contributed to making gender inclusive housing a reality.

Four Things I Learned as a Campus Organizer

In less than two weeks, I will be graduating from college. I will listen to a lot of that Vitamin C song, toss my cap up in the air and cry over my student loans. In all seriousness, I have learned so much in the last four years; I can’t imagine who I would be today without being a campus organizer. From me to you, here are the top four things I learned from my experiences and my peers. 1)      It’s about being ORGANIZED! Having a plan is so essential to making change on campus. If you aren’t strategically planning for social change on your campus, then there are some obvious loopholes that will make the process unnecessarily longer. This isn’t just the big details either; this also includes the… Read more »

Creating an Unbiased Campus Health Environment

One in four college students has a sexually transmitted infection according to the Stanford University’s Sexual Health Peer Resource Center. While number is way too high, I refuse to be a statistic. Campus health centers should be furiously educating students about prevention and treatment of STI’s and creating campaigns for free condoms and wellness checks. I know that is not the case. My friend at a university in an urban area went to her campus health center after she had vaginal discomfort, a rash, and a fever. The nurse practitioner heard her symptoms and, without even doing a physical examination or asking about her sexual history, handed out antibiotics for an ingrown hair. She proceeded to get sicker and had to lie around in bed for days. After the insistence… Read more »

Why Providers Want to Hear from Young Activists

Being a second semester college senior, I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a morning person.  My earliest class starts at 9:30am and Tuesday/Thursday mornings are struggle city.  So when I saw that the panel I’d be speaking on started at 7:45in the morning (!!) I was a bit nervous. Would I be ready to have important conversations at that hour?  Would others? Luckily for me (and for those who attended my session) the answer was yes. “Uniting Leaders of Tomorrow’s Reproductive Justice Movement with Providers of Today” was a short panel discussion centering around issues that are important to the reproductive justice as a whole movement from a variety of angles (including activism, organizing, policy, and education) and the MDs in the room were completely engaged.  We presented the panel at the… Read more »

What it means to be a “Man of Strength”

“Pray not for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.” President John F. Kennedy once said these famous words while the United States sat on the edge of nuclear war. Of course, at the time he was referring to strength in reference to national resolve and fortitude. In his gendered statement he was expressing desire for Americans to hold strong to national values of freedom and peaceful compromise. Our modern world is sitting on the edge of a very different type of abyss. This is one formed not by nuclear bombs, but by a culture that has been systematically damaging the way men and women interact for decades. This culture is one that is too tolerant of objectification and dehumanization of women. Evidence of this tolerance can be seen everywhere… Read more »

How Sex Education Failed Me

Sex education in schools has been a contentious topic for a long time. A poster in a Kansas middle school brought up it up again after a parent became enrage that his child was being educated about “explicit” topics . Many schools in the country are failing to correctly teach children about contraceptives and safe sex, defaulting to the “Abstinence is King” philosophy. This led me to examine how the education I received about sex affected my relationships. When I was in eighth grade, my parents were given the option of letting me take an Abstinence-Based Health class or Abstinence until Marriage. Both of them focused on abstinence being the best method of preventing unintended pregnancies. The only difference was that when contraceptives were discussed in the Abstinence until Marriage… Read more »

How Ohio State’s “Condom Club” is Promoting Inclusive, Safe Sex — One Prophylactic at a Time

One of the first things I did when I set foot on to the Ohio State University campus was sign up for “Condom Club” membership. “Condom Club” briefly known as “Safer Sex Society” is the place on campus to get almost all things a person might need to have safe sex. Oh and they also provide free sex-ed workshops to students. Ohio State is home to about 60,000 students. The presence of  “Condom Club” on campus is very important. For me, the Club has been instrumental in my sexual education and practice. (Fun fact: the very first lube I ever used was from the “Condom Club”). The Club is about more than providing students with prophylactics. For some like myself, attending one of “Condom Club’s” safe sex workshops was their… Read more »