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Monday October 25th

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UNC discusses changing landscape of social advocacy

A women’s and gender studies symposium has UNC students discussing the presence of women's and gender social advocacy.

"Mobilizing Through Media: Social Justice and the Digital Frontier" is a symposium featuring panels and workshops with students, faculty members and social activists discussing topics of digital media as a tool for social justice in feminist discourse.

Held in March at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia, the symposium will include abstracts and written accounts from students across the country who have submitted their work.

Professor Seretha Williams teaches English at Georgia Regents University and is in charge of organizing the event.

“A 21st century higher education goal is to facilitate more student scholarship, and (this symposium) is one way we participate in that conversation,” she said.

The call for student submitted work for the symposium has prompted UNC students to question effective ways to bring about awareness of women’s and gender studies in and around campus.

First year student Alexa Schleien is Craige North resident hall's representative in the Manning West community government. She said that social justice is present on many campuses in different forms.

“If you’re going to have a women's and gender studies presence on any campus, anything, whether it is a symposium or a lecture, it is useful,” she said.

Schelein said there’s a large presence of student groups on campus that focus on gender rights. She cited the LGBTQ Center and the Campus Y among other institutions.

Schleien is also a member of Project Dinah, a group that seeks to address social justice issues through aiding victims of interpersonal violence and sexual assault. With this, she said that she believes UNC students are at the foreground of social advocacy, including women’s and gender studies.

“Our University leads a lot of universities in women’s and gender studies,” Schleien said. “The student body is sending a message to other student bodies that we are activists.”

First year student and biology major Christina Quigley shared Schelein's opinion that events like GRU’s symposium would have a following here at UNC, and that they are already receiving attention.

“We have a huge population of people across all majors and degrees who are aware of women’s and gender problems," she said.

Quigley is joined by other first year student Hally Bohs, a Latin American studies and Spanish major, who said she agreed that there is a growing need bring awareness of gender issues.

“As a first world, developed, privileged overall country — I think we sometimes overlook the problems inherent in the system we live in. Not understanding the way that women are viewed and the position they have in society is very harmful to having an equal and healthy society,” she said.

arts@dailytarheel.com

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