By Gabriela Rey
For the first time at the College, a women’s and gender studies opportunities fair was held where students sought potential work opportunities provided by local activist and community-outreach organizations.
Various groups from Trenton attended the fair, including Life Ties, Out in Jersey, Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity, Womanspace, Kidsbridge, Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen on Friday, Nov. 21.
The fair, run by senior women’s and gender studies and English double major Amy Chen, attracted students with WGS majors, minors and anyone with a general interest in these studies in order to broaden their opportunities for internships and volunteer openings.
“I think that a question a lot of people have after (learning about what a WGS major entials) is, ‘OK, so now I know what this is, but how can I really do anything with this information?’” Chen said.
According to Chen, many people think that WGS involves putting issues like social justice and gender inequality into a scholarly context — but it goes much deeper than that.
Chen worked with Cecila Colbeth, the WGS program coordinator, to put this event in motion and expand the resources available to students preparing for the work field.
“When people say ‘women’s and gender studies,’ they think, ‘Whoo, feminism.’ But it’s actually so much more,” Chen said. “All the negative ‘–isms’ that are out there end up being tied into this, and that ends up leading to a lot of opportunities to expand your knowledge and to engage in critical debate, and also to just get involved.”
Allowing these organizations to present their work and opportunities to students was a way for Chen to illustrate the different routes someone can take with the major and show that students don’t have to settle within the clichés.
Senior WGS and math double major Danielle Murphy came to scope out the fair, hoping to find a few opportunities of interest.
“I am trying to see what my options are with both my majors, but the fair was mostly volunteer and internships, and I was looking more for jobs,” Murphy said. “It was definitely geared more toward underclassmen.”
In general, the opportunities fair was a successful first step in guiding students toward a wide range of opportunities within the area, but as Murphy pointed out, there are some areas that can be approved upon for the next time the fair is held.
“Some people might be interested in pursuing this as a career or just on the side as being involved or starting a non-profit,” Chen said. “Others might want to volunteer their time, but they might not know where to start. They might not know the resources that are out there, so we’re hoping to give students some resources into that.”