Wonder Women Wednesday: Kasey Casort

By Kristie-Valerie Hoang

She is wise. She is strong. She is a warrior.

Wonder Woman, one of the most iconic and powerful superheroes, serves as a role model across the world. Her character leads by example, fights for justice, and strives for peace. But Wonder Woman doesn’t just appear in films and comic books—she’s in our daily lives, embodied in those who fight against inequality. Join us each Wednesday as we highlight wonder women from campuses across the country who are leading the charge for change.

Kasey Casort helped build the only progressive political advocacy group at University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Before the Generation Action: Students of Reproductive Justice student organization at UAF was established, conversation about sexual health and violence at UAF was nonexistent. Casort, a rising junior, said of her campus’ culture:

There were some conversations about sexual violence that had been mishandled by our campus in the past, but none of it appeared to be student-led or survivor-centered.”

On campus, the Generation Action group added condom dispensers at first-year dorms–providing free, private, 24/7 access to condoms. The group also developed a program that would allow students to donate leftover meal swipes towards food benefiting a local soup kitchen. Aside from these initiatives, the organization also provides free on-campus STI testing and treatment as well as sexual health education. However, Casort acknowledged that this advocacy was not free from opposition from anti-reproductive rights groups at UAF:

Kasey Casort, Aidan Earnest, and Kelvin Rogers rally at the Fairbanks Women’s March in 2019.

UAF is a conservative campus–we have many robust faith-based groups and one anti-abortion student organization that consistently works to promote their agenda, especially with the aid of our local crisis pregnancy center.”

Instead of engaging with these opposing organizations, the Generation Action group works to create a positive presence on campus.

It hasn’t made the problem go away, but it is the best use of our energy right now and the healthiest and safest way for our members to focus on creating safe spaces without putting ourselves in danger.”

Generation Action club members requested funding from the Association Students of UAF for an upcoming project.

Generation Action is just getting started: the group has plans to increase its membership on campus next year through community engagement events like Sex Trivia, held in first-year residence halls.

We are hoping to up our membership by doing more public events in the first-year dorms, like Sex Trivia. Long term, we want to continue to raise awareness about the ongoing STI epidemic in Alaska, and continue breaking down barriers to health care including abortion, including in rural communities.”

When asked about her most rewarding experience in Generation Action thus far, Casort cited the leftover meal swipes donation program saying,

It was so wonderful to see how students were able to put their meal plan money to use instead of losing it at the end of the semester, and the soup kitchen was able to provide hundreds of meals with the meat, fruits, and vegetables that we donated.”

After graduating, she hopes to work in local or state politics in order to increase access to healthcare for Alaskans. While she doesn’t have a specific career path planned out, Casort is positive about the future:

I feel confident that as long as my work is increasing access to health[care] for all people, I am doing the right thing.”

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