By Shawna Leader/The AS Review
“Be heard,” the slogan of the AS Resource and Outreach Programs’ (ROP) Women’s Center, will be put into action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, in Viking Union 565 during an event called the Feminist Connection. Students looking for opportunities to get involved with women’s organizations and resources will find several representatives from community and campus groups. The event is hosted free of charge by the Women’s Center.
The Women’s Center will be joined by several Western organizations, including Crime and Sexual Assault Support Services (CASAS) and Women’s Empowerment and Violence Education (WEAVE). AS clubs, including Queer Women Educating and Supporting Together (QWEST) and Western Men Against Violence (WMAV), and community programs and resources, such as Community to Community and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS), will also be attending. The AS ROP Social Issues Resource Center will have an interactive art project as well.
“It’s a chance for anyone, whether they identify as a feminist or not, or cares about or might want to get involved with women’s issues, to meet each other,” Women’s Center Coordinator Devin Majkut said.
The event is not gender-exclusive. Everyone is welcome, Women’s Center Assistant Coordinator Shawna Held said. The Feminist Connection is not about separating people but encouraging them to work together, she said.
The Feminist Connection brings together individuals and organizations with similar goals, facilitating collaboration, involvement in the community and campus and spreading information about women’s clubs, events and programs, Majkut said.
Because some people may be unsure what the Women’s Center is, Majkut, Held and “Labyrinth” magazine Coordinator Alex Niedziolkowski will introduce themselves, explain the intent of the office and its goals and concerns.
“[Getting to know the coordinators] takes away some of the barrier that the name [the Women’s Center] puts between us and the students. … Hopefully after the Feminist Connection, people feel comfortable in just dropping by the office, and they know who we are and they can come talk to us,” Majkut said.
Majkut and Held attended the Feminist Connection when they were freshmen. While at the time they were unsure what to expect, they ended up getting involved with organizations they never thought they would, Majkut said.
“You don’t have to have some certain level of knowledge or experience to get involved with women’s issues as long as it’s something you’re passionate about,” she said. The event is ideal for any students who feel they are not as involved as they would like to be, she said.
Because there are so many ways to empower women, there’s something for everyone, Held said. In the event’s supportive and empowering atmosphere, students can sign up for any activities or organizations that interest them, she said. It also provides students with a chance to put a face to the various women’s programs on campus and in the community, Held said.
Crime and Sexual Assault Support Services (CASAS) Coordinator Devlin O’Donnell said that the Feminist Connection allows her to inform attendees about CASAS and its 24-hour student help hotline at (360) 650-3700. Letting people know that she is the person on the other end of the call makes students more comfortable with using the hotline, she said. She will also attend the event to learn about on-campus events so she can share that information with students who may not be aware of those opportunities, she said.
“One of the huge benefits of the event is listening to each other,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a great way to communicate and be able to work together.”