-By Erika Urivez
Women’s Issues Now (WIN), a student organization on campus, goes beyond just the issues of women, and works to maintain gender equality for all Grand Rapids Community College students.
The student-led group is in the process of choosing when and where their meetings will be held, but co-advisors Tess Dodd and Toni Harrington have high hopes for the start of it. They’re currently trying to get everything situated for the new school year and are glad to welcome back students from last year as well. WIN also welcomes people to join at any time, with more information on the official meeting times to come.
“Right now, we’re just trying to keep things moving until the students come in and really form the group for the year,” Dodd said.
In the past, WIN has held several events to help both GRCC and the local community. It includes going to the women’s shelter and volunteering there, but they also held a feminist art show displaying paintings, photography, writings and more. Currently, WIN holds the responsibility of supplying feminine hygiene products in various locations on campus. Although the dispensers for the products are not expected to return to women’s restrooms, co-advisors Dodd and Harrington have made sure women have access to the supplies they need.
Even though the organization may be named Women’s Issues Now, their doors are open to any student, male or female. All they would need to do is attend the meetings and get involved or email either one of the co-advisors mentioned.
“When people think of women’s issues, I could be wrong, but I feel like the word feminist comes to mind,” Dodd said. “I think that word holds a lot of negative connotations and I don’t think it needs to.”
While topics discussed may vary from feminine hygiene products to sex trafficking awareness, these issues involve men as well. WIN hopes to bring awareness that feminists are people who advocate for women’s rights, thus wanting equality and equity amongst genders.
The advisors emphasized that they don’t wish to make themselves seem better than men, but instead want to live in a world that treats all people fairly, no matter gender, race or age.
“We don’t identify as one thing,” Harrington said. “I don’t only identify as a woman, as someone with wavy hair or (who) grew up in a certain geographical area. There are a lot of pieces that go into making me the person that I am, but one thing we do have in common is that we want women’s issues to be addressed.”
The WIN group is here at GRCC because they also believe that they help bring attention to issues that need to be addressed everywhere. Harrington explained how the fight for women’s rights has been a forefront since the late 1970’s and there hasn’t been as much progress made as there could be. The group hopes to keep that awareness going and will continue another school year of doing what they can locally to help.