From: Tess Benser
Date: January 14, 2022
Subject: Center for Women & Gender Equity January 2022 Newsletter

Center for Women & Gender Equity in purple and gold text.

Purple CW&GE Newsletter graphic January 2022

Happy New Year, Golden Rams!!

As we prepare to come back together for classes (first virtually, then in person), we at CW&GE wanted to send along some well wishes and to kick your year off with some reminders of the work we have done this fall and what we hope to bring to you in the spring! 

In this edition of our newsletter, you will find re-runs of some of our writers' favorite pieces from the fall. A few have updates, so be sure to take a peek at the table of contents to see what we've included. We'll look forward to connecting in February with some brand new content!

We look forward to seeing you all back on campus again soon! Sending you positive vibes and wishes for wellbeing and health for 2022! 


Tess Benser
Assistant Director of Outreach & Engagement
Center for Women & Gender Equity


Using a Trauma Informed Approach to Support Students Impacted by Experiences of Harm - Student Staff Edition

Thursday, January 20
1:00pm - 2:00pm
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Update: now offered virtually! This training workshop is specifically designed for WCU students who serve departments as staff or volunteers who support students who may disclose an experience of harm or violence (specific roles include peer educators, peer mentors, success coaches, among others). This workshop will offer an introduction to trauma informed practices. The workshop will also include skill building and resources to support students. The session will be facilitated by partners at The Crime Victim's Center of Chester County, Inc. Brought to you by WCU It's On Us,
The Center for Women & Gender Equity, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion & The Counseling Center. This workshop funded by a 2021 It's On Us PA Grant. For more information, contact the Center for Women & Gender Equity via e-mail (



Working Toward Justice Through Body-Map Storytelling

Tuesday, February 15
6:00pm - 7:30pm
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The process of sharing stories helps people recognize themselves and others in an empowerment process. Join us for a body map storytelling workshop as a space to share, honor and uplift. The use of body-map storytelling serves as a means to hold space for the impact of harmful experiences through active participation and mapping of individual bodies and the surrounding communities with the goal of imagining a more just world. No artistic or mapmaking experience needed. This workshop will be facilitated by noted scholar Dr. Betsy Sweet and will be trauma informed and center the experience of those impacted by harm. Pre-registration is requested via RamConnect. Enrolled participants will be provided a free art kit to support participation in this experience. Brought to you by WCU It's On Us, The Center for Women & Gender Equity, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion & The Counseling Center. This workshop is funded by a 2021 It's On Us PA Grant. For more information, contact the Center for Women & Gender Equity via e-mail (



Student Parent Support Space

Saturday, February 19
1:00pm - 2:30pm
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Join the Center for Women & Gender Equity and the WCUPA Counseling Center as we hold space for student parents to connect, build relationships, learn about resources and inform future efforts to support their success at WCU.



EqualiTea Speaker Series- The Affirmation Queen: Resisting Their Expectations of the Black Woman in the Academy featuring Dr. Tiffany Lane

Monday, February 21
3:00pm - 4:00pm
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Members of the WCU community are invited to explore gender justice issues, navigate pathways to success, and build community. EqualiTea Speaker Series sessions are organized thematically for the year. The theme for 2021-2022 is Gender and Jobs. In this session, Dr. Lane will share findings from their research about the experiences of Black women navigating employment in higher education. For more info, e-mail Pre-registration is requested via RamConnect. For more information contact Sponsored by the Center for Women & Gender Equity and the 150th Anniversary Diversity Speaker Series.



Brothers of Excellence Conference 2022

Saturday, February 26
9:00am - 4:30pm
Sykes Student Union, 700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19382, United States
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Conference Mission
The Brothers of Excellence Conference will provide college Men of Color with the knowledge and community connections to:
-Identify a social issue that impacts Men of Color.
-Explore their civic leadership roles in connection with their multiple identities.
-Recognize resources and individuals to create a sense of community of support on campus.

*Men of Color includes men who identify as Asian American, Black or African American, Desi American, Indigenous, Latinx, Mixed heritage, Native American, and Pacific Islander

Theme: Strength, Power, and Brotherhood
This year's 6th Annual Brothers of Excellence Conference, “Strength, Power and Brotherhood” will focus on the importance of unity amongst the community of Men of Color.

For this year's theme, the conference will embrace these concepts:
It's about strength, it's about power
We stay together, we don't turn our back against one another
Put in the work, put in the time, use your mind
Education, affirmation, if you want to bring attention
Reach out it's not a burden
For questions contact



Sexy Bingo

Tuesday, March 8
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Sykes Student Union, 700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19382, United States
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This is not your grandparents’ bingo! Join the Center for Women & Gender Equity for a fun bingo game to grow your sexuality education and celebrate International Women’s Day! Engage in conversations about sexuality and learn about safer sex practices, sexual anatomy, sexual behavior and preference, and pleasure. Winners will be given prizes. Registration is not required but encouraged!



EqualiTea Speaker Series- A PhD Is Not Enough featuring Dr. Chandra Chomicki

Wednesday, March 23
3:00pm - 4:00pm
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Members of the WCU community are invited to explore gender justice issues, navigate pathways to success, and build community. EqualiTea Speaker Series sessions are organized thematically for the year. The theme for 2021-2022 is Gender and Jobs. In this session, Dr. Chomicki will share insights and recommendations about developing a career path during massive disruptions such as economic crisis and a global pandemic. For more info, e-mail Pre-registration is requested via RamConnect. For more information contact Sponsored by the Center for Women & Gender Equity and the 150th Anniversary Diversity Speaker Series.



2022 Gender Justice Conference

Wednesday, March 30
10:00am - 6:00pm
Private Location (register to display)
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The Center for Women & Gender Equity would like to invite you attend the Second Annual Gender Justice Conference to be held on March 30th, 2022. We intentionally plan to host this conference at the end of Women’s History Month and just before the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the hopes of unifying our office’s goals of addressing gender-based oppression and centering joy and liberation for all.

In 2021, the First Annual Gender Justice Conference was thematically organized around the groundbreaking research published in Sexual Citizens by Dr. Jennifer S. Hirsch and Dr. Shamus Khan, which examined the ways that identity and power influenced the sexual lives and vulnerabilities to harm of college students. This year we will build on the learning we embarked on with last year’s conference and continued into the fall semester with our It’s On Us Speaks event with Sonalee Rashatwar (they/he), whose talk spoke to the connection between diet culture and rape culture, and how this is itself rooted in anti-black racism and white supremacy. Our hope for the 2022 conference is to continue to examine the ways that all oppressions are intrinsically linked, and work to co-create an environment where transformative justice is possible, where everyone’s safety is secured, and where everyone finds a space of connection and belonging.

The conference will be held March 30th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Additional information can be found @wcu_cwge on Instagram.



Second Annual Gender Justice Conference Keynote Speaker: Ericka Hart

Wednesday, March 30
6:00pm - 8:00pm
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Ericka Hart, M.Ed., pronouns: she/they, is a black queer femme activist, writer, highly acclaimed speaker and award-winning sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. Her work broke ground when she went topless showing her double mastectomy scars in public in 2016. Since then, she has been in demand at colleges and universities across the country, featured in countless digital and print publications including Buzzfeed, Washington Post, Allure, Huffington Post, BBC News, Cosmopolitan, LA Weekly, Vanity Fair, W Magazine, Glamour, Elle, Essence, Fader, Refinery 29, and is the face of three running PSAs on the television channel VICELAND. Ericka’s voice is rooted in leading edge thought around human sexual expression as inextricable to overall human health and its intersections with race, gender, chronic illness and disability. Both radical and relatable, she continues to push well beyond the threshold of sex positivity. Ericka co-hosts Hoodrat to Headwrap: A Decolonized Podcast and misses Whitney more than you.

Time: To Be Announced



The Clothesline Project Display

Wednesday, April 13
10:00am - 3:00pm
Academic Quad (Rain location: Sykes Ballroom), 700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19382, United States
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Stand in solidarity with survivors of interpersonal violence (sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking). This living arts display was created by members of our community impacted by interpersonal violence since the 1990’s. Walk through the display and/or leave a message to honor and support survivors and their loved ones. For more information or to get involved contact Sponsored by the Center for Women & Gender Equity.


SB8: Texas’s War on Abortion
By Dana Pratt (she/her)

A letter from the author: 

This article has been one of the hardest I have ever written for many reasons. Senate Bill 8, also referred to as the heartbeat law, has become a catalyst for anti-abortion laws to surface.  Uncertainty regarding people’s reproductive rights is still a reality. Here are some updates on Senate Bill 8 and the copycat bills introduced afterward: 

  • October 22, 2021: Supreme court announced it would hear two cases challenging Texas’ SB8. According to the ACLU, “The court declined to rule on a request to block the ban until it hears the cases on Nov. 1. Since Sept. 1, when the ban took effect and the Supreme Court initially declined to block the law, nearly all Texans have been unable to access abortion in the state.” The two cases heard were United States v Texas and Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson. 
  • “United States v Texas: a lawsuit challenging SB 8 filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. This fall, a federal district court granted the DOJ’s request to temporarily block the law, but an appellate court let the law take effect again less than 48 hours later. The Supreme Court will decide whether to block the law again and whether the DOJ has the authority to bring this case”(
  • Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization: This law, written as a 15-week ban, asserts that pregnancy begins on the first day of the last menstrual period of the person, giving folks only 13 weeks to access abortion healthcare. While this Mississippi law is more forgiving in terms of time, it directly threatens the protections of Roe v Wade (which protects people’s right to seek an abortion) by claiming that viability begins at 15-weeks and that no one can access abortion afterward. This is also the first care that explicitly calls for the overturn of Roe v Wade. In Mississippi, there is only one abortion provider, making this law eliminate all the places that folks can access abortion after 15 weeks, making abortion nearly completely accessible. 
  • Even if Roe is not overturned, it doesn’t address the issue at hand: Legality is not equal to accessibility, which is currently a huge issue in providing this healthcare. 
  • Protection of Roe v Wade does not knock down the Texas abortion ban because of their use of private citizens as reporters of abortion. 
  • There are 24 states likely to prohibit abortion if the Mississippi ban is upheld by SCOTUS.
  • Abortion is still not as accessible as it needs to be, especially for BIPOC, those of lower socioeconomic status, and folks living in rural areas.

SB8: Texas’s War on Abortion

(Original Article October 2021)

    Headlines fill newspaper stands and infographics flood our social media pages. For most of us, the recent Texas state law passed, S.B.8.,  seems too awful to be true. Even in places where reproductive rights exist, they are not accessible for everyone, and now for folks in Texas, they do not even have that. Screaming for bodily autonomy for almost 20 years of my life leaves my throat dry and unable to heal. The supporter of this bill is Governor Greg Abbott. We see more and more how politicians make decisions about citizens’ rights to undergo or terminate biological processes that they do not understand, most of them have never even experienced them firsthand.

     After the initial anger of “Why did they do this?”, we transition to the “How can they do this?” stage. This is something that many people are asking. Luckily, we have political scientists and other informed people to explain how this law slips through the hands of our human rights. Senate Bill 8 is the first of its kind to pass through the supreme court and go into effect. Texas lawmakers have coined this the “heartbeat law” which essentially bans abortions at or after 6 weeks of pregnancy, making no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The misnomer of this law is the term “heartbeat.” A fetus’s heart does not develop until nearly the 20th week of pregnancy, and in most cases, “If you are less than seven weeks pregnant, it's unlikely to find a heartbeat by ultrasound” (VeryWellFamily). At this point in the pregnancy, the small clump of cells is not even considered a fetus, it is an embryo. This embryo is so small that in many cases ultrasounds cannot identify cardiac activity. Further, hormone levels of HCG, the pregnancy hormone, are sometimes too minimal to be picked up in an at-home pregnancy test. Further, for people that experience menstrual cycles, we know all too well that so many things can cause your period to be late, or not come at all. Below is a compiled list of reasons why a menstrual cycle could change other than pregnancy.
  • Weight Changes
  • Increased Exercise
  • Secondary Amenorrhea ( 
  • Sleep Schedule Changes
  • Medication 
  • Aspirin and other medicines (called blood thinners) that prevent blood clots.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (for example, Aleve).
  • Hormonal forms of birth control, such as birth control pills, Depo-Provera injections, Nexplanon implants, and the levonorgestrel IUD (Mirena).
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Medicines used to treat cancer (chemotherapy).
  • Thyroid medicines
  • Stress
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Menopause
  • Cold/Sickness
     As shown above, these are just a handful of circumstances that could affect the menstrual cycle from functioning regularly. It is also necessary to mention that most people do not know that they are pregnant at 6 weeks. So how did this law pass?According to an article in The Atlantic, “The key… was not to criminalize abortions. Instead, the state has authorized private citizens in the state- quite literally any private citizen—to file lawsuits against anyone who performs or ‘knowingly aids or abets’ an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. When plaintiffs in these suits succeed—and many inevitably will—they will receive at least $10,000 from defendants and an injunction preventing a provider from performing any more abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.” 

     By doing this, the state is not technically infringing on human rights of any kind because it is not the “state” shutting down abortion centers or criminalizing people directly. Essentially, this law is fueled by fear of being sued or “tattled on” for seeking any abortion services. On September 9th, the Justice Department sued the state of Texas over this ban. The lawsuit reads that ‘The state enacted the law “in open defiance of the Constitution.”’ As for any progress on getting rid of the bill, “The Justice Department is seeking a permanent injunction from a federal court in the Western District of Texas. But it's likely the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final word on the matter” ( It is important to note that this law is an issue outside the gender binary, and that is why it needs our attention so urgently. The below design offers a hyperlink to ways that citizens can help support people in knowing that their bodily autonomy is a human right and that we believe that this fight is an important one. 

Five Femme Indigenous Climate Leaders From Around the World

By Jocelyn Brown (she/her) and Nicole Salapong (she/her)

(Original Article November 2021)

November is considered Indigenous Heritage Month. Therefore, in this collaborative article with a peer educator representing the Office of Sustainability, we wanted to celebrate Indigenous peoples’ importance when it comes to fighting the climate crisis. While they may only account for 5% of the world’s total population, Indigenous peoples preserve and maintain around a quarter of the Earth’s surface, both land and sea, and over 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Of course, all Indigenous people promote sustainable approaches, but the burden of responsibility mostly falls on the shoulders of Indigenous women or other femme-presenting folks. This month, we wanted to highlight just five of these incredible femme leaders in climate policy and community change from around the world. 

  1. Lucy Mulenkei

Lucy Mulenkei is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) in Kenya. As a part of the Maasai tribe, she holds training seminars for other nomadic and pastoralist communities to develop sustainability and promote biodiversity in Kenya. Mulenkei is acutely aware of the climate challenges facing women in her region. For 17 years, she served as a broadcast journalist, speaking on the issues facing rural Kenya and all of East Africa. For example, gold mining and severe droughts have crippled the clean water supply. This forces women and girls to travel much longer distances for water, which puts them at a greater risk of gender-based violence along their travels. Together with their international partners, IIN provides new water wells, curates a tree nursery to protect against erosion, and teaches femme-presenting farmers how to harvest and conserve rainwater. Mulenkei also co-founded the Indigenous Women Biodiversity Network, which promotes the voices of Indigenous women from all 7 regions of the world, including the Arctic. For more about her organizations, follow @IndigenousInfo1and @Iwbnglobal on Twitter.

  1. The Fijian Women’s Weather Watch

The next entry is actually an entire group of women. It is no secret that Fiji sees its fair share of natural disasters, and climate change is only exacerbating this issue. Femlink Pacific, which focuses on empowering women through media, started the Women’s Weather Watch (WWW) after Hurricane Mick in 2009. The reason a program like WWW is necessary is that these women’s communities excluded them from the decision-making processes around natural disasters, despite women’s continued selflessness in these situations. Fijian women are often the last to leave the house in the event of a natural disaster, burying food in the ground to keep it safe for when the storm passes and warning their neighbors. With WWW, women can now warn their communities in a more efficient way and receive recognition for doing so. For example, when Leba Volau receives a disaster alert on her phone, she is the first person to alert the entire village. In addition to communicating about the weather, Volau realized she was the main source of new information for her village. With what she has learned in the program, Volau says, “I told the village elders we should have access for people with disabilities too. The walkway should be accessible to disabled. . . They just looked at me. Because I’ve been to many workshops and consultations. It’s an eye-opener for me. So when I go back and tell them, it is also new to them.” Information is power, and Femlink Pacific is empowering Indigenous women in the Pacific. To see more of their initiatives, follow them at @femlinkpacific on Twitter. 

  1. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Hindou Oumarous Ibrahim comes from the Lake Chad Basin and is a member of the indigenous Mbororo people. Due to rising temperatures associated with climate change, Lake Chad is only 10% of the size that it was in the 1960s; this blow to the area along with local conflicts has led to a crisis that affects over 10 million people and has forced over 2 million to evacuate. Oumarou Ibrahim recognizes that these issues are causing problems for not only the population of the Lake Chad Basin but for the cultural dynamic of the area as well. As people migrate to urban areas, traditional knowledge is unable to be passed down through the generations. Oumarou Ibrahim collects indigenous knowledge about Chad as part of a 3D mapping project in order to prevent resource-based conflicts and bring people together to plan a more prosperous future together. She served as a coordinator of the Peul Indigenous Women and Peoples Association of Chad, a co-chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, and a member of the executive committee of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee. Over the past decade and across many other forums and networks, she has worked tirelessly to bring indigenous voices to the forefront of climate change advocacy. For more about Ourmarou Ibrahim’s efforts, follow @hindououmar on Twitter.

  1. Nemonte Nenquimo

Not many can say that they took a federal government to court, but Nemonte Nenquimo can. Her legal victory over the Ecuadorian government in 2019 was responsible for saving 500,000 acres of rainforest and created a legal precedent for indigenous rights. The first femme-presenting president of the Waorani people of Pastaza in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Nenquimo had a happy childhood in the jungle; however, after visiting Ecuador’s capital Quito for the first time, she realized the importance of protecting her home. Since the 1960s, logging, oil exploration, and road development have had a major negative impact on Ecuador’s rainforests. Today, 80% of the Waorani population lives on only one-tenth of its original ancestral territory. Ultimately, Nenquimo’s efforts to lead her people and protect Waorani land led to a legal challenge to the Ecuadorian government, which decided to auction off oil concessions that encroached on Waorani territory. The long legal battle was won, and an Ecuadorian court blocked the sale of the land. Nenquimo says that by working together, “We can make and build something very beautiful in the world for future generations,” -- a guiding principle for her ancestors, who defended their land in the way that she is. For more information about Nenquimo’s story, as well as those of other indigenous communities defending their rights in the Amazon, follow @AFrontlines on Twitter.

  1. Autumn Peltier

Only seventeen years old, Autumn Peltier has been advocating for water preservation for First Nations people in Canada for over nine years. She’s spoken in front of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as the United Nations General Assembly about the grim realities of water pollution, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Peltier’s interaction with Trudeau came after he made controversial decisions to approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement -- pipeline expansions that heighten oil spill risk and increase carbon emissions. Inspired by the opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline by members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Peltier hopes to continue standing in solidarity with other advocates across regions. In 2019, she was named chief water commissioner by Anishinabek Nation, a political advocacy group representing forty First Nations across Ontario. Pelier’s great aunt Josephine Mandamin had the role before her and taught her everything she knows about conservation. Mandamin’s life was spent protecting the Great Lakes; she established the Great Lakes Guardians Council and founded the Mother Earth Walk. Before Mandamin passed away in 2019, Peltier says that she asked Peltier to continue working to protect water. When asked about continuing Mandamin’s legacy, Peltier simply states, “I’m going to carry on her work until we don’t have to anymore.” To learn more about her mission, follow @autumn.peltier on Twitter.


January Update: 

  1. The Tohono O’odham

This article originally focused on Indigenous populations around the world, but of course, right here at home, Native American farming practices are having a big impact, too. A Washington Post article from December 2020 describes how the American Southwest is finally acknowledging the strength of Indigenous knowledge to deal with the droughts caused by climate change. For example, the local tribes knew to plant their crops under the shade of trees to protect them from the harsh desert sun and conserve water. The University of Arizona’s Tumamoc Resilience Gardens will copy this technique, among others, by planting parts of the gardens under solar panels. 

Arizona is in the headlines for its sustainability practices because of the presence of the Tohono O’odham Nation. The article writes, “The Tohono O’odham have farmed in the Sonoran Desert for several thousand years. Like many Indigenous groups, they now are on the front lines of climate change, with food security a paramount concern. Their expansive reservation, nearly the size of Connecticut, has just a few grocery stores. It is a food desert in a desert where conditions are only getting more extreme.” Despite their struggles, they still want to share their traditional desert farming methods with others. Nina Sajovec is the director of the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which is a Native American food justice organization. To preserve biodiversity and promote plants suited to the desert, Sajovec and the Center founded a seed bank and have given out over 10,000 seeds to local farmers. Her partner is Sterling Johnson, a farmer that also focuses on sharing Native knowledge. However, Johnson reminds us that we need to be careful of who ends up with all of the credit. He writes that this new interest in Indigenous sustainable practices sometimes feels like “Anglo society taking when they need something. We really would like to see these crops and techniques … still used to serve the Native community.” We must not leave our Native American communities behind in the fight against climate change. 

To learn more about the Tohono O’odham and the Center, visit their websites at and


The saying goes that “knowledge is power,” but Indigenous knowledge is especially powerful, and it deserves to be protected and preserved. These five women have proven that fact time and time again, as they are the current stewards of our Earth. The President of Conservation International, Jennifer Morris, once said, “Indigenous women are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis — and they are powerful agents in the fight to halt it.” However powerful Indigenous knowledge is, Indigenous women should still not have to fight alone. Morris also says, “A critical step to protecting nature — to protecting the planet — is elevating the rights and roles of the world’s indigenous peoples, especially women.” Therefore, while following these activists on Twitter, see where you can donate and what you can do to help. Gravitate towards Indigenous knowledge in the classroom and in your life. 


To learn more, visit these sites: 


The Power of Art in Activism on College Campuses

By Holland Morgan (they/them)

(Original Article December 2021)

Historically, art has played a major role in protests in ways we may not recognize,  artists put the hours in to create banners, posters, flyers, digital and street art, pins, and more.  The time put into this art not only does the job of spreading their message but is also often done with the rest of the community to build relationships and common messages.  One example of students protesting the actions of their own school was seen at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  Students were demanding a clear plan from the institution to divest from the use of fossil fuels and held a community art build event before the protest took place.  The student organizer of the event Coco Rhum stated “Art allows us to bring people into our work in a tangible way and to communicate our values and goals in a way that is enticing and appealing to a given audience”.  One of the other student participants Deion Hammond stated “art will never exist on the side of the oppressors”, which can be a powerful statement considering the lack of voice or opportunity students can experience within academic institutions.  Being able to create art with zero filter to send a message and also put pressure for a response from universities is incredibly important.  

An example of universities working with students to look at historical activist art can be seen at Gettyburg College.  At their Schmucker Art Gallery, director Shannon Egan worked with students to create two different exhibits which ran during Fall of 2020.  One exhibit, Mexico and the People, featured 12 lithographs, which were created by a workshop of Mexican artists in the early 1900s.  These pieces critisized the spread of fascism and also supported the protection of the land rights of laborers.  The other exhibit, I Beseech You, pulls attention to the current injustices disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous, and POC communities during the pandemic.  The title is taken from the print artist Carrie Mae Weems, ‘Tell me, I beseech you, when I casted my vote to you, did I cast it to the wind?’.  Her piece was initially made leading up to the 1996 presidential election and communicates the lack of power she holds as well as her vote in American state systems.  These exhibits were an effective way to show students as well as gallery attendees the role that art has played historically in social movements. 

In terms of opportunities for art activism on West Chester’s campus, in 2021 the Art + Design department has made continuous efforts to showcase the works of underrepresented populations in art communities as well as sustainable art.  As part of the University’s climate action plan, during the Earth Day Virtual Exhibit clothing pieces made of post-consumer waste, the use of natural pigments and dyes, lowfire pottery was all showcased.  Also shown during this exhibition was Indigenous Environmental activism in art.  Curated by Krista McCalla and featuring Jaida Grey Eagle’s photo essay, Standing with Standing Rock, the work of Indigenous activists during the 2016-2017 protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  If you are looking for future opportunities on campus, this spring the Center for Women and Gender Equity will be running an initiative to create art to be put into the lactation spaces on campus.  The student led project to revitalize the spaces on campus is working to serve and empower anyone chestfeeding on West Chester campus. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding lactation spaces on campus please reach out to  We are creating art for these spaces to make them more welcoming and comfortable. If you would like to contribute art, look out for advertising this spring semester on our social media pages ( @wcu_cwge) as well as our website.

Yellow sex education graphic on aftercare


Sex Ed: Aftercare is for Everyone 

By Callie Anderson (She/her)

(Original Article November 2021)

Following even the best, most satisfying sexual activity, it can be common to still feel let down and disappointed. This feeling, called post-coital dysphoria, is the result of the “euphoric rush and sudden comedown that follows intense sexual pleasure,” and can be caused by a number of factors including hormones, feelings about sex, feelings about the relationship, body issues, past traumas, and psychological distress. Feeling disappointed after sex may not be a reflection of the sex itself and, instead, be a reflection of what happens after sex.


Aftercare is the care-taking that happens between partners after sex. It is a way to check in and address the physical and emotional well-being of everyone involved.


Aftercare is most commonly discussed in BDSM and kink communities, but aftercare is for everyone participating in sex from the most vanilla to the most BDSM sex, from the most casual hook up to the most long-term, committed relationship. And aftercare looks different for different people, so it is important to communicate with sexual partners to discuss how to best care for each other.


According to Gail Saltz, a professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, “Part of the point of aftercare is to diminish any sort of post-sexual shame, which can be heightened by sex followed by goodbye, leaving a partner to feel you [didn’t care] for them but only [wanted] sexual gratification.”


It could seem awkward to discuss aftercare with a more casual relationship, but even a brief conversation to ask, “Are you good?” and see what went well can go a long way at diminishing post-sex blues. In a more committed or long-term relationship, it’s also important to include aftercare rituals to maintain a healthy emotional connection between partners and keep sex an enjoyable activity to look forward to.


Some examples of aftercare include, but are not limited to:

  • Cuddling

  • Getting a snack or water

  • Watching a movie or TV show

  • Taking care of any minor injuries that could have occurred (more applicable to BDSM or kinky sex)

  • Falling asleep together

  • Recounting the scene or sexual activity

  • Acts of service like getting a blanket

  • Words of affirmation

  • Massages

  • Playing video games

  • Space on your own

  • Taking a long bath


Discussing aftercare with sexual partners is important, especially if you have different preferences. Some people might want to decompress on their own while others want to cuddle and talk. Talking about aftercare can ensure that it’s possible to address all partners’ post-sex needs and leave everyone feeling cared for as best as possible.


Part of aftercare can also include cleaning up. If using sex toys, it is important to know how to take care of them and keep them clean from harmful bacteria. To clean your toys properly, first you need to know what they are made out of. Porous materials, such as fabric, leather, hard plastic, and rubber, have microscopic holes that bacteria can grow in, so you may want to consider using a condom for protection. Nonporous materials, such as silicone, metal, and glass, are usually easier to clean because there aren’t holes for the bacteria to grow. Many sex toys can be cleaned with mild soap and water.


Sometimes you will need to deep clean your sex toys, and you definitely should deep clean and disinfect them if they are being used by multiple people. There are cleaners made specifically for sex toys, and some recommended brands/products are Medamore, Sliquid Shine Toy Cleaner, and Satisfyer Cleansing Foam. For more information on how to clean sex toys and a breakdown of what is necessary for different types of materials, check out this article. Thoroughly cleaning up after sexual activity can improve future activity and keep everyone involved healthy and safe.


Even though it could seem intimidating, bringing up aftercare can be as easy as saying, “Hey, after sex, can we do [enter aftercare here] to wind down?” Implementing aftercare practices into your sex life should put you on the right path to leave sexual encounters feeling positive about sex, your partner(s), and yourself.

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Take Back the Night

Thursday, April 21, 2022
6:00pm - 9:00pm
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Save the Date! Take Back the Night 2022 will be the evening of Thursday, April 21st. Support those who experienced harm, learn about resources, and contribute to a safer campus for all of us. More info to come!