Young Feminists Mobilize College Campuses
By Rose Afriyie, Field Organizer
NOW staff photo by Kirsten Eismin
The Purdue UChapter tables prior to the elections, both registering students to vote and promoting their involvement with NOW.
NOW CANs and UChapters held several actions throughout the election season that raised consciousness about feminism's vibrant, policy-influencing, change-making movement. In NOW Campus Action Networks (CANs) and in NOW chapters on university or college campuses (UChapters), young feminists contribute free time between classes, studying, internships and everyday life to effect change by advocating for equality. Not only did young feminists lead Get-Out-The-Vote work, they also participated in Domestic Violence Awareness Month and organized Love Your Body Day (LYBD) awareness actions.
The University of Pittsburgh CAN, headed by Carmen Berkley and Sara Fatell, partnered with the Student Vote Coalition and increased voter-turnout on their campus by 1,400 students. On Love Your Body Day, they scheduled on-site manicurists for anyone who wanted a little pampering around finals. They also provided a button-making machine so women could create their own sayings to express love for their bodies.
Purdue (Ind.) NOW, the unstoppable UChapter founded by Kirstin Eismin, has also been working hard. For the election, they held voter registration drives along with bringing pro-choice Indiana candidates to campus to talk with students about the right to safe, legal abortion. For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they co-sponsored a Take Back the Night march and a Clothesline Project with the Purdue Women's Resource Office.
They also added an interesting LYBD twist with an event table outside on campus, inviting all those passing by to accept a kiss (a Hershey kiss, that is) with LYBD info attached. Organizers taped negative ads to the sidewalk so participants could march all over them. The UChapter also photographed participants for a LYBD board, containing mini-lists of things people love about themselves. The table also offered healthy foods (such as apples and granola bars) for students passing by.
Harrisonburg/JMU (Va.) NOW, recently convened by Alexandra Robbins, also shook things up on their campus. The UChapter coordinated with the College Democrats to get out the student vote. On Oct. 18, they covered their campus with flyers that urged students to love their bodies. These fabulous feminists also held an educational protest at their local Wal-Mart after viewing the film "The High Cost of Low Price."
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