Class, race and gender can fuel division, but they can also start conversations that bring understanding.
The WKU student organization Toppers Uniting for Feminism is hoping to bring these discussions to students across campus.
“This group was created to highlight to students and faculty the inequalities that exist in our society as well as on our campus,” Erlanger sophomore and TUFF lead member Maggie Mercer said.
According to member Molly Couch, a sophomore from Independence, this student-led club was established with the purpose of providing a safe place to “discuss and create social change in topics like reproduction, body image, violence, sexual orientation and other issues regarding race, class and gender.”
The group, previously called Toppers for Choice, changed its name to Toppers Uniting for Feminism last fall after deciding to address a broader spectrum of issues than just women’s reproductive health.
“[Toppers for Choice] felt that Toppers Uniting for Feminism allowed for a platform that would allow us to do good without perceived limitations,” Couch said.
Along with event planning during their meetings, TUFF endeavors to help students learn how to handle certain issues.
“Conversation is very important, as is building awareness of feminist issues, and TUFF stimulates both of those by holding meetings — tabling with information about various topics,” said member Aeryn Darst, a senior and Bowling Green native.
TUFF members will be working closely with the department of diversity and community studies for the creation and distribution of this semester’s zine, a magazine that highlights issues concerning race, gender and class.
The club is also partnering with the department for the HopeLine phone drive.
“We have boxes located throughout campus where people can donate their old phones and phone accessories,” Mercer said. “These phones will be sent to Verizon, and they will give a proportional donation to Bowling Green’s centers for domestic abuse.”
On Oct. 16, TUFF will also be collaborating with the Student Identity Outreach organization on a Steven Universe cartoon screening and discussion, with time and location details to be announced.
“Many people perceive him and multiple characters in the show as LGBT positive,” Mercer said. “There is such a small amount of representation in the media for this community, and Steven Universe is a funny and heart-warming show.”
Current TUFF members hope that students will seek out the organization as a safe environment to speak openly about all gender, race and class issues.
“I really love that TUFF has become a place where you don’t have to fight to be heard or to be taken seriously,” Couch said. “By discussing and trying to deal with issues that affect us daily, TUFF members acknowledge that these issues exist and validate each other’s experiences.”