As a WGS minor, I am passionate about gender issues on both a local and global scale. Here on campus, I am particularly interested in the issue of sexual violence. Inspired by a “change making project” in Professor Potuchek’s Introduction to WGS class, I worked with a group of students including Briana Stetler ’13 and recent graduates Sabrina Marinelli and Kerry Cunningham, to start a group called Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA). This year, SASA has around 50 members.
We are working closely with Student Life to discuss policy regarding sexual assault and are raising awareness among the student population. For example, on November 1-14th SASA is holding a series of events called “14 Days to End Sexual Violence” to address the issue of sexual violence on campus and in the world at large.
In addition to activism on campus, I have also been studying gender issues abroad. Last semester, I studied in Vietnam and worked on an independent research project that integrated my dual majors in Environmental Studies (ES) and Globalization Studies (GS). My project used a gendered perspective to examine methods of cooking in rural Vietnam. I found that in my particular study site many women spend long hours collecting polluted wood for fuel. The alternative cleaner cooking system, which produces biogas from pig manure, is often difficult for these women to install and expensive to maintain.
As a part of an honors thesis in ES, I will return to my study site in Vietnam this January to test the feasibility of locally made ethanol fuel for clean cooking. I hope that my research will ultimately spark change towards new systems of cooking that save the women in my study site time and money and remove pollution from their living environments.