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Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA

USAC collaborates with social media project to empower women

By Helen Immerso

Oct. 20, 2016 11:39 p.m.

An undergraduate student government commission partnered with Herstory, a social media project, with the goal of empowering women on campus.

The USAC Academic Affairs Commission and Herstory introduced the Women Empowerment Campaign on Oct. 13. Herstory is a Facebook page that features the stories of women at UCLA. It was first launched by former USAC President Heather Rosen and former USAC Internal Vice President Heather Hourdequin in April 2015 through the internal vice president’s office.

[Related: Herstory at UCLA photoblog shares women’s stories, promotes feminism]

The campaign, part of Academic Affairs Commissioner Ashly Mohankumar’s platform to empower women, will feature weekly narratives from UCLA students on Facebook. Campaign members will gather students’ stories and photographs to help share their experiences.

Herstory posted the campaign’s first feature on the Herstory Facebook page on Oct. 14.

Mohankumar said her commission wanted to start off the campaign in the fall to generate positive discourse. She said she worked with Rosen, Hourdequin and current Internal Vice President Sabrina Zeigler last year to discuss the collaboration.

Herstory is now in the Academic Affairs Commission’s office, but still serves as a direct resource for the internal vice president, she said.

Melina Rodgers, co-director of the campaign, said a speaker series panel is in the works for winter or spring quarter. She added she hopes the panel will educate students about equality in the workplace.

Rodgers said the committee has been reaching out to potential speakers with different backgrounds for the panel.

Christina Vuong, co-director of the campaign, said she thinks that by sharing fellow Bruins’ experiences with topics like mental health and sexual assault, other students will be inspired.

Vuong added she hopes male students will support the campaign because they may be able to relate to the stories regardless of their gender.

The campaign is focused on female students but will include any individuals who identify with “she” and “her” pronouns.

“We are not excluding any female identities as long as they have a story to share and are passionate about it,” Vuong said.

Students said they think the campaign will encourage people to talk about women’s issues.

Elias Lawliet, a fifth-year gender studies student, said he thinks an active account for women, such as Herstory, will help students learn about women’s issues they might not be exposed to on their Facebook feeds.

Vicente Carrillo, a second-year Chicana/o studies graduate student, said he thinks it is important to acknowledge male privilege because women and men don’t experience things the same way. He added he thinks male students should support the campaign via social media by sharing posts.

“We cannot solve gender inequality with the campaign but (we can) shine light on and have a conscious dialogue about gender inequality,” Rodgers said.

Students can submit nominations for themselves or other female students to share their experiences on the Herstory Facebook page.

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Helen Immerso
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