by Lauren Schuster, Social Media Editor
On the evening of International Women’s Day in the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center (LWGRC), a group of students gathered to attend a “Nomination Night,” during which their work on campus promoting intersectional feminism and activism would be acknowledged and celebrated by the center’s staff. The event was organized and hosted by the center’s graduate assistant, Jo-Ann Mullooly and the center’s student workers, seniors Reilly Love Rebhahn and Samantha Monfils.
“It was an opportunity for us to gather student leaders on campus who have been recognized by their peers and by us and other faculty and their teachers just to kind of recognize them for the work they’ve done, for the advocacy that they’ve participated in, and to let them know that they have a space here on campus where they can continue that work, where they can be supported, and find a team to help them and to just work with,” Monfils said.
Students who want to start initiatives relating to activism and promoting intersectional feminism on campus can often find themselves searching for a place to connect with like minded peers. Mullooly, Rebhahn, and Monfils want to ensure that students understand that the LWGRC wants to be that place for them.
“I think having all these students that are doing important work in their own spheres and with their own passions, having them all in a room and seeing other students on campus that are doing maybe similar or very different things, recognizing ‘Oh, she’s in my class!’ or ‘Oh I see them on the quad all the time!’ or ‘I always sit next to them in Locke’s!’ that is creating in itself its own networking for these boss students on campus,” Rebhahn said.
Mullooly agreed, hoping that the event would leave the students more connected with each other.
“Often times students, especially underclassmen students, have a tendency to feel like they’re the only ones fighting the good fight and they’re alone in their struggles, in their triumphs,” Mullooly said. “[They] oftentimes feel like they don’t have anyone to share those emotions with, so part of tonight was just having all these students in the same room and to really tell them that both their subtle and outward triumphs in the name of intersectional feminism and more have been noticed by professors, by peers, by club leaders, et cetera, and that we want to highlight that here. We want to show them that they’re beautiful, show them that their work is glorious and we want to see more of it and we’re here to support them.”
As part of the event, the students were encouraged to share with the group what issues on campus they feel the most strongly about and what new initiatives they would like to start together.
“If you have something that you feel so strongly about that you haven’t seen here [at Manhattan College], this is a place to let that manifest and become a reality, and we want to be here to provide resources for all of the people that were here tonight, whatever they want to do,” Rebhahn said.
The students in attendance were also gifted a packet containing important information relating to the work they do on campus. This included a letter thanking them for their work, a copy of the students bill of rights, pamphlets from the LWGRC and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, a transgender awareness week reading list, a list of various websites and national hotlines for different types of sexual and gender-based violence or struggles and a statement on transgender and intersex rights from the chair of the sociology department. With access to these resources, the center’s staff hopes that the students in attendance will be encouraged to share them with others on campus as part of their future endeavors.
“I would really like for [the students] to follow through on the ideas that they talked about, and I want them to come here and I want them to be excited,” Monfils said. “I want them to have a passion for it, because if there isn’t a passion behind it then things don’t get done, and things don’t get done correctly. So I really just want them to pursue what they love and what they want to see get done. I want them to be the student leaders that they wish to see.”
The many ideas that were shared at the event were recorded by center’s staff and will now be looked into as potential future activities and projects for the center.
“I think tonight really highlighted all of the intricacies of what it is to be a Manhattan College student today, here and now, with all that is going on.” Mullooly said. “We really ran the gamut of topics tonight, between public safety changes, classroom changes, what they would like to see more of representation-wise, et cetera, and so I think tonight was really important to just have students be heard and feel seen, and now [work on] what to do with their thoughts going forward.”