The Gender Excellence (Gen-X) Learning Community enhances students’ knowledge of social justice issues that relate to women and gender. It also helps students make early connections with a variety of women- and gender-related campus, cultural and community programs.
Gen-X students participate in a variety of classroom and community experiences that focus on women and gender. These experiences draw on the ideals of service learning and combine volunteer efforts with academic study. Gen-X students also have individualized advising during the program and have seats reserved in select Women's and Gender Studies courses so they can get to know one another. Finally, students in Gen-X classes will work together on course-related projects, from common study groups, and develop core friendships with other students who share their interests.
The Gender Excellence Learning Community is a dynamic group open to all first-year students who are interested in issues related to women and gender. Male and female students in all majors and disciplines, as well as those who are still undecided majors, are eligible to participate in the program.
Gender Excellence students volunteered monthly with the organization Girl Talk Foundation, leading monthly workshops and meetings and serving as mentors for junior and high school girls from diverse backgrounds. They also hosted tables and served as ambassadors for activist in residence Jennifer Baumgardner. Events included the Waves of Feminism: Generational Panel Discussion, Film Series: It Was Rape, and Writing for Activism Workshop.
Other major accomplishments for Gen-Xers include helping to organize and participating in the National Eating Disorders Association Walk in October, implementing the “Post-It Forward” project which included a campus-wide movement to encourage positive attitudes towards self, and organizing and leading a campus tour for 60 local high school girls that included a faculty/student roundtable, residence hall and classroom tour, step show, and a Q & A for girls and their parents.
Peer liasons with twenty-five 5th grade girls from Charlotte Community School for Girls (CCSG). Gen-Xers completed a Venture Challenge Course with CCSG, raised $1,000 for the Susan G. Komen walk for breast cancer (which 55 girls/women participated in).
Students in the Gender Excellence (Gen-X) Learning Community collected donations for Pennies for Peace during the fall 2009 semester. Pennies for Peace is an organization that raises money to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Gen-X students collected 23,912 pennies (for a total of $239.12) during international education week. The money will fund educational opportunities for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will be used to purchase school supplies for Pennies for Peace.
Gen-X director, Ms. Kelly Finley, spoke about the students experiencing activism at different levels. Finley said, “Pennies for Peace allows the students to become more aware of the global movement to educate. The program stresses the importance for education for girls. They are the key to turning us around.”