COD Feminist Alliance makes a comeback

Reanna Comiso, Features Editor

When looking for a place to direct his love for student involvement and activism, College of DuPage student Jacob Kent asked students what they thought the campus was lacking. Without a second guess, students shared their want for a feminist club to discuss the issues of sexism and misogyny. In turn, Kent took their opinions and used it as an incentive to revive the Feminist Alliance of COD.

Kent is the former president of COD’s Pride Alliance, giving him experience leading a club on campus. He stepped down from his position with Pride Alliance, but he knew he wanted to continue leading a club on campus. He took what he knew about student leadership and set out to find a place to direct his skills.

“A lot of people were saying, ‘Why isn’t there a feminist club on campus?’” said Kent. “I thought, ‘Well, it looks like there is a market for this.’”

The Feminist Alliance first debuted on campus around 2015, when former president and founder Auguste Baltrimaviciute was looking for a place to direct her interest in gender issues. In order to form a club on campus, she needed to gather advisers and a succession of student leaders. From there, the club was born as a means to educate the student body and discuss the many issues facing women in today’s society.

After graduating from COD and going on to earn her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the club underwent a hiatus. It became difficult to find leadership that was able to devote the time needed to keep the club up and running. Returning to COD to take language courses allowed her to step-up as vice president. Now as VP, Baltrimaviciute wants to see the club form a strong foundation to be able to live on when she makes her final departure from COD.

“I really want the Feminist Alliance to really sink its roots in so it can last for a while, because these issues aren’t going away,” said Baltrimaviciute.

In the past, the Feminist Alliance hosted several events to educate the student body, including movie screenings and frequent round-table discussions. The club also emphasized the importance of collaborating with other clubs to gain different perspectives on how social issues often affect more than one social group, also known as intersectionality.

Being able to incorporate the views of the various demographics on campus allowed for club members to walk away with new perspectives and ideas.

“It was really helpful to get other groups so you get more participation and then a better perspective of other experiences, too, not just your own,” said Baltrimaviciute. “The collaborating with other clubs helps to round out the picture.”

While the development of the club is still in the works, ideas for the next semester are already in the works. In essence, the club hopes to be a safe place for people to discuss their stories and perspectives on various feminist issues and their own experiences as well.

As the club begins to stabilize going into the spring semester, one of the main goals is to host a “Take Back the Night” event. In the past, the club hosted this event for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault as a way to create a positive environment for survivors to share their stories and create something productive, rather than internalize the feelings and have them manifest in negative ways.

“I believe strongly in the cycle of abuse,” Kent said. “If people don’t have a space to share their experiences and have the experiences believed and validated, those people can instead internalize those behaviors and become abusers themselves.”

Though meeting times for the next semester have yet to be determined, the club welcomes any and all individuals to join and participate in their cause. Information on future meetings can be found on their facebook page at @CODFeministAlliance.