UH’s Student Feminist Organization has been meeting to promote gender equity, social justice and student success through weekly group discussions.
In 2009, UH alumni Amanda Williams and Andrea Pratt founded SFO to inform and educate students about feminism. Their goal was to inspire members to abolish social inequalities by sharing feminist beliefs through dialogue, social interaction and activism. Today they are run by new student officers who continue to hold these beliefs. The organization meets every Thursday at 5:45 p.m. in the Women and Gender Resource Center.
“I think SFO is great at helping people see how diverse our campus is,” said SFO’s treasurer and digital media senior, William Le. “We have so many unique people here, whether it’s because of race, gender or sexuality. We are one of the most diverse campuses in the nation.”
Le joined the club because he wanted to be able to be a part of an organization that was aware of people’s differences and was inclusive of all of them. He said that in college it was important for himself to find a space that shared his opinions on social issues.
Chidi Odu, SFO’s VP, joined the club because she wanted to educate her peers. The anthropology junior says that she came into her feminist identity when she was in high school and wanted to continue her activism while at UH.
“Going into college I thought, ‘I’m going to join whatever feminist club there is on campus or I’m going to have to start one,’” Odu said.
Odu joined the club her freshman year. She says that SFO positively impacts UH’s student body by allowing people to learn about intersectionality, even if they do not necessarily align themselves as feminists.
She also believes that having a feminist organization challenges the state’s climate.
“We’re in Texas,” Odu said. “Having a club like this is kind of big.”
Each SFO meeting covers a different part of intersectionality. The organization conducts its meetings in the Socratic method, allowing members and visitors to ask and answer questions. This semester’s topics have ranged from privilege, to anti-Blackness to LGBTQ+ visibility.
“I love coming to feminist club meetings,” SFO member and business junior, Mailynn Nguyen said. “We talk about things that a lot of other people don’t talk about, but they should.”
SFO is one of several programs that the Women and Gender Resource Center offers to UH students. The center and its workers promote the same ideas as SFO. Sydney Mullings, the WGRC’s new program coordinator, says that the resource center and its programs are safe spaces that any student can be a part of.
“We have this really amazing place where students can just hang out,” Mullings said. “If you want to be a part of something just come in. A lot of goes on here.”
Mullings believes that some students do not want to get involved with SFO or the WGRC because they think that the center and its programs are women’s only. Her goal as a new director is to try to stop this idea from spreading and to get more students to participate. WGRC workers and volunteers have been visiting classes on campus and posting on their social media pages to make students aware of how to join their programs.
“We want everyone to know about us and to be a part of what we’re doing,” Mullings said. “It would be amazing to break down all of these stigmas. My job right now is to figure out what UH responds to and how we can get their attention.”
SFO’s officers and members say that they want to welcome anyone of any age, race, gender and sexuality to join their discussions.
The organization will continue having meetings throughout the semester.