Gender & Sexuality Equity Center

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SUPPORT THE GENDER & SEXUALITY EQUITY CENTER

The AS Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) of California State University, Chico is a student-run, non-profit 501(c)3 activist organization that strives to empower all students. The GSEC aims to do this by providing a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can come together to promote social justice.

As the GSEC continues to grow as a program, we ask ourselves: “What direction is the GSEC headed? Where do we want to be as a program in three-five years?” Frequency of visitors to the office and attendance at GSEC events have both skyrocketed in recent years as the quantity, quality, and diversity of programming has progressed. Since it has been our collective goal to be responsive to the needs of students, the cost of hosting new events like Trans Week of Resilience or Take Back the Night Week, as well as services like providing free pregnancy tests or low-cost menstrual cups, have quickly outpaced the funds we currently receive. 

A couple years ago we were fortunate to find it in our budget and capacity to hire an additional program coordinator who would provide specific services for and education about the transgender and gender diverse community. Supporting this new team member, in addition to expanding many events from day activities to week-long series, has stretched our event budgets to a meager level at best. With your support, we can continue to enrich the campus and students’ education by meeting a growing demand for free services and events for all students—highlighting the specific needs of women, the LGBTQIA+ community, students of color, and all other students experiencing societal marginalization.

HELP US CONTINUE TO MEET STUDENTS’ NEEDS

In addition to providing a safe space through awareness-raising events and resource referrals, the GSEC also offers free sexual and menstrual health supplies. These include, but are not limited to: tampons, pads, condoms, lube, dental dams, and pregnancy tests. We need your help to continue providing and expanding these services/events, allowing us to be more responsive to other student needs that we cannot otherwise sustain.

$20 allows GSEC to sell seven units of at-cost pepper spray per event during Welcome Week

$50 provides menstrual cups, tampons, and pads to 5-8 students per week

$125 provides a semester’s worth of free sexual health materials

$250 can sponsor a heavy duty cart for transporting materials to/from events

$1500 currently sustains an entire queer, trans, or women’s conference budget

$2500 currently sustains each program’s event budget for the entire year (including outside sponsors)

$5000 can send five student staff to a nationally-recognized conference for professional development

Your support allows GSEC to provide our core functions:

  • Judgment-free place to hang out, eat lunch, breast/chestfeed, or study
  • 3 Unit Internships in the Women’s, Queer, Trans, and Outreach Programs
  • Free sexual health supplies (i.e. condoms, lube, dental dams, pregnancy tests, etc.)
  • Free and low-cost menstrual health supplies (i.e. free tampons and pads, $10 menstrual cups)
  • Hosting close to 30 educational and social events every year
  • Free Multicultural & Gender Studies Library
  • Advocacy for marginalized communities on campus and abroad
  • Educational presentations and panels for classes, clubs, and departments
  • Facilitate donation drives and benefit performances for communities in need
  • Social justice-themed merchandise (proceeds go to GSEC programming)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is the mission of the GSEC?

The Associated Students Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) is a student-run activist organization, that strives to empower all students through its four programs: the Women’s Program, the Queer Program, the Trans Program, and the Outreach Program. The GSEC challenges societal norms that have been used to oppress and marginalize by providing opportunities for leadership, personal development, and referral services. We offer a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can effectively support the academic mission of the university.

What’s the history of the GSEC?

The Women’s Center at Chico State began during a time when the women’s movement was gaining momentum throughout the country. In 1971 a small group of dedicated women realized the importance of creating an organization where women could explore their mutual concerns and also help educate the campus and community about progressive Feminist issues. Having an eye for a more inclusive future, the center has since expanded its programming to recognize the intersectional needs of the LGBTQ+ community as well. Thanks to the vision of those first few women, the financial help from a memorial fund, the support of the Associated Students, and the dedication of student activists in recent years, the former Women’s Center (now known as the GSEC) is an organization that has lasted for over 45 years and continues to be a vital part of our community.  

Why is the GSEC so important?

We don’t live in a perfect world, so the GSEC and programs like it will continue to advocate for social justice as long as the damaging ideologies of sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, and any other form of oppression exists. These harmful ideologies all have one thing in common: they exist to dehumanize marginalized communities. Feeling less than human can have a tremendous impact on a person’s social well-being, including a student’s experience in college and likelihood of graduating with their degree. 

What does it mean to provide a safe space?

The GSEC aims to cultivate a space where the campus and community can gather free of judgment, have challenging conversations about social norms, and engage in active learning and self-reflection about one’s efforts to support marginalized communities. These testimonials illustrate the effect the GSEC has had on the student experience:

“[While interning at the GSEC] I’ve definitely cultivated a second family that I didn’t think I would have.” —GSEC Intern, 2015–16

“If you’re interested in activism, feminism, or just making your community a better and safer place to be, then joining the GSEC is a great option.” —Spring 2016 Intern, Current GSEC Staff 

What programs does the GSEC offer?

Expanding upon the services of the former Women’s Center, the GSEC continues to offer a Women’s Program that promotes intersectional Feminism and centers the needs of all women on our campus; over the last six years, we have also instituted a Queer Program, Trans Program, and Outreach Program. With these additions we are able to further our efforts in creating a campus-wide understanding and acceptance of all sexual and gender identities. In 2015 the Intern Coordinator Assistant Program was restructured into the Outreach Program to expand the GSEC’s outreach efforts. In the spring of 2016, efforts to further evolve and expand our LGBTQ+ services were successful with the establishment of a Trans Program (thus, warranting a name change of the Queer Program, previously known as the LGBTQ+ Program).

How does the GSEC currently operate?

The GSEC is a non-profit organization whose primary funding source is through the Associated Students’ Student Activity Fee, which means that a portion of students’ tuition fees supports approximately 90% of our programming and operations. With this structure in mind, we take a lot of pride in our ability to meet all students’ needs as much as we possibly can. All other forms of funding come from outside contributions and dedicated fundraising efforts. 

Is the GSEC completely student run?

Yes! A common misconception of the GSEC is that we are a club or Academic Program affiliated with the University. On the contrary, we are considered a program within the Associated Students, and the center is run collaboratively by a staff of five students: one director, four program coordinators, and a variable number of student interns. This team works closely with Associated Students staff as well as an advisory board. 

I heard that the GSEC only provides services to women and LGBTQ+ students. Is that true?

Not at all! Our goal is to provide support for people of all sexual and gender identities, in addition to centering the voices of other marginalized communities (i.e. students of color, interfaith communities, students with both visible and invisible disabilities, etc.). Our space is open to anyone and everyone who wants to learn more about challenging harmful societal norms and initiating change by raising awareness of social justice issues. Amidst all of the services and programming we offer, doing so with an intersectional lens is one of our main priorities.

How can I get more involved?

Anyone can get involved at their own pace! Folks who are simply looking for community and connections are invited to hang out in the center on one of the couches anytime between the hours of 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students who are interested in more of a commitment are encouraged to apply for a semester internship in any one of our four programs. This internship is nothing short of a rigorous activist journey, but interns leave feeling empowered to enact the positive social change they wish to see in society. For more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 530-898-5724, visit us in BMU 004, or email asgsec.director@csuchico.edu. More information about our event programming for the 2017/2018 academic year can be found on our website.

 

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