LGBTQ Advocacy Project in Top 15 of White House Campus Challenge

Fairfield University’s Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons (GSSC) is the only LGBTQ advocacy group in the Top 15 finalists of the White House & MTVU Campus Champions of Change Challenge. It is currently up to a public vote to decide the Top 5. Top 5 winners will be invited to an event at the White House and featured by mtvU and MTV Act. GSSC is a small grassroots student initiative working within a private Jesuit university in need of student and institutional support to continue their mission of supporting the LGBTQ community and combating issues relating to gender and women.

Please help GSSC reach more people by voting for The Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons!  Vote Here (you receive up to 3 votes and the deadline to vote is March 3).

It’s important that the voices that advocate for the LGBTQ community and women are heard.

At Fairfield University in CT, student leaders Alicia Bissonnette, Alex Cody, Marissa Tota, Rachel Lang, Jesus Nunez, and Astrid Quinones, have been working with faculty and staff to establish a more inclusive environment for all students. They created the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons.

While Fairfield University has a proud history of social justice through the tradition of Jesuit Catholic Social Teaching, Fairfield’s campus has lacked an open atmosphere towards tolerance of various genders and sexualities. In 2010, Princeton Review listed Fairfield University at #19 on the list of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender unfriendly campuses.  Student leaders felt that it was not always hate that fueled the acts of intolerance, but ignorance.  Therefore, they set out to create a safe space to converse about not only LGBTQ issues, but any issues pertaining to gender, sex, or sexuality.  As student activists, they found it necessary to claim a space to create and foster an all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities, and thus established the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons (GSSC). As a group, leaders recognized the need to establish a campus wide continuous dialogue that went beyond a single event or club’s network. They realized that creating a physical space could enable various other student groups to meet, engage, and network as a campus wide social justice entity.

GSSC, collaborating with various other student clubs and networks, has put on a number of events addressing sexual assault on campus, LGBTQ rights, and gender. Currently they are working on a film series to raise awareness of body image and gender in the media. March 5 they will show Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s film, Miss Representation, in the student center followed by a student led discussion.  Taking part in the international movement V Day, GSSC will be hosting both Take Back the Night and Women’s Day at the end of March.  Women’s Day, with the theme of empowerment, will culminate with a Gender Bender Ball hosted by the Alliance club.  GSSC has also begun working with the Diversity Office to establish a student-run and facilitated Safe Space LGBTQ Ally student awareness program. This year, the first year, GSSC has made great strides in impacting Fairfield community to encourage tolerance and acceptance of all genders, sexes, and sexualities.

The Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons is a unique project at a Catholic institution. They are focused on making Fairfield University a more diverse and accepting university. Through their efforts, GSSC has created an inclusive and welcoming space that is a home for those who feel they do not have a voice or place at a Catholic and Jesuit University.

With your support the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons can make it to the Top 5 in the White House & MTVU Campus Champions for Change Challenge, helping GSSC to continue working towards their mission.

Please spread the word and vote for the only LGBTQ advocacy project to make it to the Top 15 finalists!

Thanks you for your support.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    In addition to being an avid feministing reading, I am currently a student at the University of Arkansas and member of the Volunteer Action Center (VAC) Board. I am the director of our VAC Literacy Program, and the VAC’s Full Circle Food Pantry is also nominated as the White House Campus Champions of Change Challenge. Furthermore, our board runs an Alternative Spring Break program which is basically a leadership conference for girls and young women to help them attend college. Though both men and women serve on the VAC board, the Executive Committee of our Board and all of our Chairs are currently women. Though I respect Fairfield’s program and thank them for making great strides at their campus community, I encourage you to consider also voting for the VAC’s Full Circle Food Pantry. The pantry serves faculty and students who are struggling with food insecurity, and it is the first pantry of its kind at an SEC school. In addition to serving students in this capacity, the VAC has a given a voice to female student leaders at our campus. Please consider voting for the Full Circle Food Pantry at http://tinyurl.com/7kdou6o

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