Cultural trends are shifting, at least at the University of Florida. Perhaps I’m just being optimistic, but in the last 3 years I have seen NeW and its ideals spreading like swine flu in a college dorm.
Let’s go back to spring of 2008, when NeW Founder Karin Agness came to speak at UF about the ERA and the evolution of the women’s rights movement. A group of UF NOW members attended and challenged Karin (Female Roles Debated).
Below: Karin holds an intellectually diverse conversation with a campus NOW member.
NOW had a long activist history at UF, in fact, it had one of oldest the campus chapters in the nation (established in the early 70s!). And the University of Florida is not exactly known for being conservative-friendly. So it was natural to assume that NeW at UF would receive some opposition.
Nevertheless, we knew our message was significant to college women. So over the next year, we concentrated on building our network and challenging women to evaluate their beliefs.
So, fast forward to 2009. The original founders of NeW at UF have graduated, and a new generation of women have taken leadership. NeW’s general bi-weekly meetings have expanded to an average of 30 members attending regularly. Women attend these meetings because we want to make educated decisions on challenges that have a direct bearing on our futures and everyday lives.
How has campus NOW approached us since Karin’s speech? Well, their chapter has since dissolved.
Is a shift in the way college students view women’s issues occuring? I’ll let you be the judge.