I have attended University of Cincinnati Feminist weekly meetings throughout the 2013-2014 academic year. At the final meeting, I was elected to be President of University of Cincinnati Feminist club. Throughout the summer, I developed an agenda and restructured UC Feminists with my officers’ help. I was president for UC Feminists from August 2014-April 2015.
My main goals were to build a safe community with members returning on a regular basis. I have done a lot of research into the types of topics we could discuss and activities we could do. And it was a success! I built a great community with intelligent and caring students. I had 10-20 people come to each meeting. The general meetings were an hour long on a weekly basis and there were also officer planning meetings once a week for an hour.
Within this community I developed strong leadership skills, sharpened my public speaking, and developed my coordinating and organizing skills to present a sustainable and successful club on campus.
In order to create a safe space for everyone to talk freely, we needed to have a supportive and open-minded community within the UC Feminists meetings. I developed these ground rules and I go over them at the start of every meeting.
Confidentiality: Do not share intimate details about another member’s life outside of these meetings without their permission out of respect of their own privacy and safety.
Respect Differences: We all come from different backgrounds and we all need to have the space to be open-minded and to respect others in our conversations.
Self-Care: If there is a topic that you are triggered and/or feeling attacked by, say the safe word “OUCH” and the conversation will be stopped by one of the officers and we will transition to a different subject. We encourage you to stay after the meeting is over to talk about what happened and we will listen and give you support if you want it. You may also leave the meeting at any time to take care of any needs you have.
Letting all voices be heard: We are all excited to share our experiences, but due to time constraints not everyone can be heard fully within our meetings. Recognize those who have not spoken up and give them space to do so, while stepping back when you are dominating the conversation. All of the officers are available as a resource outside of the meetings if you want to continue a conversation, have someone to listen to you, or if you just want to talk. We are all excited to talk to you and we can definitely grab a coffee and talk sometime!
The topics that we went over throughout the year I was president are listed below:
- Systems of oppression and privilege
- Sexual and romantic orientations
- Gender identities
- Ableism/Mental health through a feminist lens
- Cultural appropriation
- Sexual assault and gender-based violence
- Pay equity and discrimination in the workplace
- Current Events
- Reproductive Health
- Feminism in different cultures