The latest addition to clubs on campus is Gonzaga Feminism and Advocacy, a student-led group that provides a safe and inclusive space for promoting education, discussion and community engagement on topics relating to women's rights.
Members of GU Feminism and Advocacy gather information and opinions on specific topics, including mental, emotional, physical and social health to discuss at their meetings each week. The club meets every Thursday at 8 p.m. in College Hall room 137. For those unable to attend in-person, the meetings are available through a Zoom link.
Throughout the meetings, discussions on current events and whether they jeopardize or uphold and promote women’s rights are held.
Courtney Brown, president of GU Feminism and Advocacy, said that the executive board tries to make each meeting a space that feels inclusive for all who want to attend. Those who do attend meetings are invited to share individual experiences and are given an opportunity to get involved in events both on and off campus.
“We are a group of students that want to impact the culture of GU through creating a safe space for education, discussion and community while providing GU’s campus at large monthly opportunities to get involved,” Brown said.
While providing a safe environment for members to discuss power and gender dynamics, GU Feminism and Advocacy’s mission also partakes in building partnerships within the Spokane community by engaging in regular community service activities.
GU Feminism and Advocacy evolved from three pre-existing clubs on campus: GU Students for Reproductive Rights, Students Empowering Women and Students Advocating for Sexual Health Awareness.
According to Maggie Tomcho, social media director of GU Feminism and Advocacy, all three of the clubs realized that their missions co-aligned with one another, and that each club was holding similar events and discussions. By combining the clubs into one larger group, everyone can collaborate and bring their different perspectives to one collective setting.
“We noticed that the three clubs were doing a lot of the same events and programming, so each of the executives got together and decided to combine each club,” Tomcho said.
Brainstorming the new club's name "GU Feminism and Advocacy," was a team effort.
“We wanted a name that incorporated all three clubs and all of the themes that we want to cover," Tomcho said. "Feminism and advocacy are such broad terms that we are able to cover many topics and not be limited to certain things."
One of the first on-campus projects GU Feminism and Advocacy worked on toward the end of the last academic year was providing free feminine products in all the women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms in the John J. Hemmingson Center.
“College students can impact change and influence the culture of their community,” Brown said. “I want to prove this in every meeting, event, project and Instagram post from our club.”
The club also began holding events with the goal of educating its members on topics such as contraceptives, mental health and reproductive rights.
During its first meeting of the semester, the club had around 25 students attend. Now, the club's email list has grown to around 100 students.
“Twenty-five people showed up to our first meeting, and with a larger email list and Instagram following, we are optimistic about club growth throughout this year," Brown said.
There are no requirements to join GU Feminism and Advocacy except coming to each meeting with an open mind and willingness to learn and participate in discussion, Tomcho said. The president of the club addressed that it strives to be a diverse group where everyone can be themselves.
Events for the upcoming academic year are still being planned, according to the club. Brown recommends those interested in learning more about GU Feminism and Advocacy to follow the club's Instagram account
@GuFeminismAndAdvocacy for information about upcoming projects, meetings and events.