UW Oshkosh: Empowering Opportunity

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Be the Change You Want to See in the World

One thing that I love about UWO is that there are so many opportunities available for students to grow and everyone is so supportive of new ideas.  This environment makes me feel like I can make a difference in this world.

This fall I began interning at CARE, which stands for campus for awareness on relationship education. In the short time I’ve been part of CARE, it’s made a big impact on my life. I believe it’s made me a more understanding, compassionate person and has inspired me to create awareness about issues that are often ignored.

As a CARE intern my job is to educate the UW Oshkosh campus about healthy relationships. We provide students with information to protect themselves and help others around them, on issues related to sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence.

One of our jobs by the end of our internship is to either create a project or write a paper on what we’ve learned. Since I am a Public Relations intern, I wanted to focus on a project that was related to my field. At first I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then I watched a documentary called Miss Representation and everything changed.

The film exposes how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power. It challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls and tries to empower them.

At the end of the film, during the credits it said to help spread awareness try and implement a media class that was based on gender at your school. When I saw that I was so inspired, and I thought “Why can’t I do that? I’m going to try and create a class like that at UWO!”

I immediately emailed Shelly, my CARE internship supervisor, about how inspired I was and how I wanted to create change at our school. I felt like I could really do this! By 9 a.m. the next morning Shelly had forwarded my email to several professors and I had six responses. I was so excited!

It turned out that UW Oshkosh already has several classes like that in the Women Studies department as well as Radio-TV-Film. I have to admit, I felt a little defeated for a second. It was great to know we had classes like that here already, but I was still so affected by this film that I wanted to do something, ANYTHING, to help spread the word.

Then it hit me! I could create a showing of the film here on campus and then have a facilitated talk back, so that people could share how they felt about what the film exposes. I quickly rushed to tell Shelly and she was right on board. She helped me get started on the process of creating an event on campus. We had to act quickly though, because events are always happening on campus and we didn’t want to coincide with someone else’s event.

After much deliberation we decided on Nov. 15 in the Reeve Theater at 7 p.m. We also chose Alex Hummel, a staff member on campus, to lead the talk back, because one of our main focuses in CARE is to get more men involved.

When I proposed the idea to the other CARE interns they supported me and were inspired to create different events themselves. We created posters, made a Facebook event, put updates on out Twitter account and reserved a promotional table in Reeve Union so we could tell even more people about the event. We also e-mailed department chairs and told our professors to spread the word.

Even though it happened so quickly — this idea came to me less than two weeks ago — I’m happy that this opportunity was made possible. It goes to show that as a student at UWO you can “be the change you want to see in the world.”

How did it turn out?

… Better than I expected — we had more than 80 students attend!  I hope that the students that came will be inspired to take action of their own, even if it is just simple changes in their daily lives.

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