After a two-year hiatus, the Gender Studies Initiative is returning to Snow College under new leadership, and students are encouraged to join in.
The Gender Studies Initiative originated in the 2011-12 academic year with a group of female professors making a realization. Professor Dr. Rachel Keller, one of the Initiative’s founders, said, “We would meet as female faculty to have lunch or just talk, and we were astonished to find how many of the same experiences we shared relating to gender.”
As a result of these meetings with her colleagues, Keller began developing a Gender Studies class within the Snow College Honors Program, and eventually received approval to teach the class as a general humanities credit.
The Gender Studies Initiative was also created as a monthly gender-themed event where students could participate in activities and discussions that shed light on various gender-related topics. Past events have included Halloween parties to discuss gender differences in costumes and screenings of documentaries about women in third world countries.
Initiative activity waned over the past couple of years as Keller eventually stepped down from leading the group. This year, Professors Dr. Andrew Bahlmann and Lauren Matthews have teamed up to revitalize the Initiative. “The decision to restart the Gender Studies Initiative happened quickly,” said Matthews. “It was just before Club Rush when Dr. Bahlmann said we should start it up again.” Together, Matthews and Bahlmann aim to once again hold monthly activities such as movie nights and panel discussions. They hope to create a safe place for conversations rather than confrontation.
“There’s a place for everybody in this conversation,” said Bahlmann. “It’s not a place to talk about how awful men are. It’s an organization to foster better understanding and conversation for things tied to gender issues.”
According to Matthews, 18 students signed up to join the Initiative at Club Rush. She and Bahlmann hope that as activities are held and word of mouth spreads, that the group will grow larger. To join the Gender Studies Initiative, students are encouraged to search the Initiative on Facebook or to contact Bahlmann or Matthews in their offices in the Humanities Building.