Women’s Community Center Assistant Dean & Associate Director Marta Hanson shared the following remarks when presenting the 2019 SAL Campus Impact Award for Capturing the Spirit to the Stanford Womxn’s Coalition on May 23, 2019.
My name is Marta Hanson, and I’m the Assistant Dean & Associate Director of the Women’s Community Center. This year, I was thrilled to nominate Stanford Womxn’s Coalition for the SAL Campus Impact Award for Capturing the Spirit.
The Stanford Womxn’s Coalition, or WoCo, offers a dynamic space to engage with issues of intersectional feminism, to create educational programming that serves to involve the larger Stanford community in womxn’s issues, and to facilitate a group dedicated to empowerment and mentorship. They also aim to build alliances with and support other WVSOs on campus and serve as advocates in ASSU and university administration policy-making regarding issues that affect womxn at Stanford.
WoCo’s leadership on campus this year has been present from the first weeks of school, when the Ford/Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings shook many of us to our core. In response, WoCo hosted a “We believe survivors because…” interactive art campaign to engage passers-by in reflection and conversation. This positive, proactive approach to a controversial and deeply challenging topic demonstrated their keen understanding of the context-specific dynamics at play, the nuance of advocacy for marginalized voices, and a commitment to a justice-oriented response.
Though WoCo, as a student organization, has been around for many years, the group is a model of the reflecting and evolving necessary to stay relevant and impactful in changing – and challenging – times. This year, WoCo hosted a gender-inclusive rendition of The Vagina Monologues entitled “Dear ______,”: A Collection of Monologues on the Experiences of Gender, which highlighted Stanford students’ varied experiences with their own gender identities, performances, and expectations – thus responding to the needs of the campus community and providing a platform to uplift students’ voices.
WoCo’s efforts this year have ranged from collaborative workshops to policy talks on human trafficking environmental justice; from a digital literature and arts magazine to a conversation on disparities in public health with Dr. Leana Wen of Planned Parenthood. Through all of this, they have not only ensured an inclusive and intersectional approach, but also carried a commitment to building a leadership pipeline and empowering younger members to step into leadership roles and try their own hand at being the change they wish to see.
This campus – and this world – needs more groups committed to inclusive, justice-oriented practices, and it’s been a joy to see the intentional effort and impact of WoCo this year. I look forward to seeing how the Stanford Womxn’s Coalition will continue serve the Stanford community in the years to come.