Twenty OWU students joined college-aged activists from all over the country to learn about issues spanning from reproductive justice to campus activism to communities of color, at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference March 31 through April 2 in Washington D.C.
Junior Kamila Goldin and sophomore Kate Johnson led the conference. For Goldin, leading the conference was a house project through the House of Peace and Justice. Johnson took on the leadership role because she is an intern at the Women’s Resource Center.
“I receive email updates from the Feminist Majority Foundation and I heard about the conference through them,” Johnson said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to branch out because we had never sent students to this conference before.”
The students from Ohio Wesleyan went with different backgrounds while each of them returned to campus with new and different perspectives.
Senior Charley Donnelly was one of the attendees.
“First and foremost, I am a progressive humanist, and feminism is definitely a part of that,” Donnelly said. “The conference definitely cemented a lot of my beliefs.”
One of Johnson’s goals in planning the conference was to teach students how they can be activists in their communities.
“I want students to make a bigger push for activism, rather than just awareness-raising,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of awareness projects on campus, but activism has more of a lasting impact.”
The conference stressed that being an informed voter, and organizing for others to vote, is an important part of campus activism.
Junior Andrea Kraus agreed with the conference’s emphasis on the importance of voting.
“I really am looking at the upcoming presidential election as a form of activism,” said Kraus. “I want OWU to vote this year; I talked with the President of Rock the Vote at the conference, and she gave me some good insights about small liberal arts campuses.”
Donnelly returned with several ideas about campus improvement as well.
“I would like for condoms on campus to be more widely distributed, and for Plan B (emergency birth control) to be better subsidized,” Donnelly said.
Johnson said the conference had been a success and she too has hopes for more political action at OWU.
“I know that coming from a liberal campus it can be harder to be involved, especially now because it’s a republican primary, but it’s important for students to be aware of politicians’ stances on issues that they care about,” Johnson said.