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Women and Gender Studies Program Raises Awareness

Diversity among SUU StudentsThe Women and Gender Studies Minor (WGS) is on a constant mission to enrich and inform students, faculty, and community about issues of gender, race, class, nationality and citizenship in a global society. These topics are involved in multicultural, intersectional, and transnational contexts to help raise awareness and provide opportunities for students’ professional growth.“Our hope is to inspire others to create an inclusive and supportive environment that treats everyone with dignity, respect, and compassion,” said Shoba Gurung, associate professor of sociology at Southern Utah University.

The minor is co-directed by SUU’s Shoba Gurung and Iliana Portaro, who desire to bring the SUU community together through meaningful conversations, conferences and panels.

Dr. Mary Romero, a professor of justice studies and social inquiry at Arizona State University, was the keynote speaker at the latest Women’s and Gender Studies conference, Immigration and Intersectionality. She highlighted structured inequality along the lines of race and ethnicity, social class, gender, and immigration in transnational contexts.

Students at SUU - Diverse On CampusAfter the conference, there was an organized panel session in which faculty, staff, and students from different races, ethnicities, social classes, genders, and sexualities were able to share their life experiences.

“I believe our conferences and their themes provide a platform and a safe space for our campus and the local community to share, reflect, and learn about the ramifications and simultaneous effects of all these issues,” said Gurung. “We always need to encourage more of these safe spaces.”

Gurung and her colleagues plan to continue to raise awareness and provide educational opportunities for the campus, local, and global communities.

“We want everyone to feel welcome and safe on SUU’s campus,” said SUU Provost Bradley Cook.

The WGS program was implemented in 2012 to offer courses that encompass issues and discussions of identity in a global society. They offer conferences, panels, and presentations to bring awareness of women’s opportunities and needs as well as discussing accomplishments of women, past and present.