On Friday, August 7th, students from eighteen different California college campuses came together at the Feminist Majority Foundation offices in Los Angeles to discuss organizing tactics, share their stories, and learn from each other. The incredible event was planned and painstakingly managed by Nancy Aragon, the National West Coast Campus Organizer along with the 2015 Feminist Campus Summer Interns. They created a schedule of informative and engaging activities to ensure that everyone in attendance left with crucial organizing tools, new information, and, most importantly, formed connections with their awesome feminist compatriots!
The day began with introductions and icebreakers (and bagels), as the Director of the Campus Choices Leadership Program, duVergne Gaines, started off the summit with a note on the significance of engaging students and the importance of college club activism in effecting change and bringing feminist issues to the forefront. Kathy Spillar, the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Executive Director, then spoke about the mission of the Feminist Majority Foundation to advocate for feminist issues in all spheres, and the foundation’s emphasis on providing resources and assistance to college groups, laying the groundwork for the many more specific presentations to follow. Afterwards, the summit attendees were thrown into a game of Human Bingo, which led to a lot of conversations about identity, background, and passions, which set the stage for the collaborative atmosphere that came to define the day.
There were presentations by both the Campus Choices interns and students from various college campuses. They provided information on topics as varied as funding, recruitment and retainment, and the importance of building community within your feminist group. We put some of that knowledge into practice with some great and fun community strengthening exercises led by FMF’s very own Kitty Lindsay, who had everyone singing songs from Disney to Sir Mix-A-Lot before we knew what was happening.
We would particularly like to thank the Women’s Student Assembly from USC, the Feminist Majority Club from ELAC, the Feminist Majority Leaders’ Alliance at CSULA, and the Bruin Consent Coalition, for their enthusiasm, knowledge, and enlightening presentations. We are so lucky to have had the chance to learn from them!
This summit was a chance for everyone involved to learn from each other, and it was also an incredible opportunity for us, the interns, to learn valuable lessons, from making sure we ordered enough food (literally essential) to jam-packing the day with awesome information. We visualized it and we made it happen. We hope that it is the first of many such summits, and that you, dear reader, can make it to the next one or will even organize your own!