Boston University’s Allocations Board awarded funding to the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism Monday to host a conference, geared toward college students, for women’s and gender centers in the New England area for the first time, officials said.
“The conference would be to showcase different centers and how they function,” said CGSA Event Coordinator Nai Collymore-Henry, who will serve as the conference’s head coordinator. “Basically, our main goal is to show how women’s centers or gender centers can provide accessible resources.”
AB awarded CGSA members $4,350 to hold the New England Women’s Center Conference on Nov. 16, she said. The conference will be open to representatives from women’s centers and students in the area.
“We want to showcase not only student activism, but also activism in the Greater Boston area as well as activism in New England,” Collymore-Henry, a College of Communication sophomore, said. “We believe that women’s centers are very important parts of communities.”
The conference will take place in the Photonics Center and will feature resources and workshops for attendees on topics such as LBGTQ issues, student activism and organization, and physical disabilities, Collymore-Henry said.
“Our goal is to have workshops that look at the accessibility of gender centers and the accessibility of resources,” she said. “We are still in the planning phases of our workshops.”
CGSA will be working with the BU Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center as well as other area groups such as Hollaback! Boston and The Network/La Red, Collymore-Henry said.
Students from CGSA will reach out to students at colleges in the Boston area, as well as other student groups on BU’s campus to promote the conference.
“Our goal, as the CGSA, is to make sure that everyone who wants to go can go,” she said. “… We are looking forward to collaborating with a lot of these students because we believe that this is an event that a lot of BU students will want to attend. We would love it for people to come regardless of what club they are in.”
CGSA will be open Nov. 15 for pre-registration for the conference, Collymore-Henry said. The price has not yet been decided.
CGSA Public Relations Coordinator Ileana Tauscher said NEWCC will bring leaders of women’s centers around the region together to communicate.
“The idea is to get leaders in these women’s centers together and to start a conversation about how they’re run, how they function, and what kind of programming they do,” Tauscher, a School of Management senior, said.
Women’s centers encourage activism in communities as well as inclusiveness, Tauscher said. NEWCC will teach the average student about the services women’s and gender centers provide.
“It’s important that we have people come together to recognize their [women’s centers’] significance in the university setting,” she said. “A lot of times, people don’t really understand what the function of a women’s center is.”
CGSA Financial Coordinator Abriana Tasillo said NEWCC will provide a forum for discussion that might not normally take place on important issues relative to women’s centers.
“Specifically, we’ll be talking about gender and sexuality issues,” Tasillo, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said. “We’d also really like to talk about race issues, class issues, and issues of different abilities and access as well as socioeconomic status.”
CGSA officials are excited to hold a conference that brings people from the area together to share resources, Tasillo said.
“This is the first time that we’ve had the opportunity to hold the conference, and we think it’s going to be very successful,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to the support from the university and the entire community.”