Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Feminist Action Project hosts community-building nights, perseveres through closure of Women’s Community Center

Medha Sarin
From left to right, art history junior Sophia Greenberg, neuroscience junior Miya Walker and government senior Beth Nokes at a Feminist Action Project meeting on Tuesday. The three crafted buttons which they plan to give to employers who were laid off due to the university’s DEI-related changes.

Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., students gather to discuss feminist issues, simultaneously crafting items such as buttons and mini-magazines. For over a decade, students across UT could locate this community in the Women’s Community Center, formerly the Gender Sexuality Center. 

The student organization hosting these community-building nights, the Feminist Action Project, took part in a space that cultivated support, attending UT Women’s Basketball’s first Pride Night and gaining recognition from the White House for National LGBT Center Awareness Day. However, the location (WCP 2.112) faces closure due to the implementation of Senate Bill 17, leaving the organization to relocate next semester. Miya Walker, an officer in the organization, said despite the obstacles they face, the Feminist Action Project continues to welcome students interested in feminist issues. 

“Being in Feminist Action Project gives me the space to be creative, have my opinions be heard and talk to some really cool people who have similar values,” neuroscience junior Walker said.

Walker said the organization creates zines and self-published mini magazines in the fall and attends spring conferences. However, the implementation of SB 17 canceled this year’s conference.

“We planned it in collaboration with the Queer & Trans Student Alliance, and they were a part of the Gender Sexuality Center,” Walker said. “So, starting January 1, they were no longer operating because of SB 17, and because of that we haven’t had our main collaborators involved with planning.”

Beth Nokes, an officer for the Feminist Action Project, said the recent discontinuation of the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, specifically the termination of the Women’s Community Center, created many unknowns for the organization. 

“I don’t know what it’s gonna look like next semester,” government senior Nokes said. “Losing the (Women’s Community Center) that is so integral to the organization itself; it’s going to be interesting to see how we can deal with that moving forward.”

Art history junior Sophia Greenberg said despite these uncertainties, her involvement in the organization remains an enriching experience. 

“Each meeting is pretty much craft time plus (a) discussion about current events, and they could be personal events or worldly events that we need to process, talk or laugh about,” Greenberg said. “It’s a lovely community space to hang out with people and therapy (craft).”

“We’ve spent a lot of time the past three years that I’ve been a part of the club (talking) about abortion rights because that’s been a very hot-button issue currently,” Nokes said. “I think that’s been one of our most popular topics of conversation when it comes to social issues because it’s so relevant. It threatens to affect us all and is affecting us all.”

As for future endeavors, Greenberg said the Feminist Action Project will work with the former Multicultural Engagement Center to find inclusive spaces for students on campus. 

“These are real needs and important things we should be recognizing for students to help them thrive at UT, even if we have to do that not officially associated with the University,” Greenberg said. 

Walker said students should utilize this time to implement new ideas. 

“There’s so much uncertainty that now is the time where if you want to have some creative project if you want to have some initiative on campus, this is the perfect time to do so,” Walker said.

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