This semester I became a board member for the Penn Association for Gender Equity (PAGE). I’ll go into a little bit about what PAGE is, the important work it does, how it fits into the broader picture of extracurriculars at Penn, and how I got involved.
PAGE is an umbrella organization housed under the Penn Women’s Center for groups on campus that represent marginalized gender identities. What this means is it acts as a liaison between these groups and administration, allocates funding, and advocates for them to administration. We are currently working on a variety of issues, including improving sexual violence reporting forms, increasing access to menstrual products, advocating for more gender neutral bathrooms, and building a gender equity focused pre-orientation program for first years. We also plan our own events for the student body, with our most recent one being Galentine’s Day—an evening for non-men of color to come together, hang out, and enjoy treats packed in a goodie back we could pick up from a spot on campus or have delivered to us.
PAGE is also one of the 6B, a coalition centering on minority students, that consists of Umoja (focusing on Black students), the Latinx Coalition, Lambda Alliance (focusing on LGBTQ students), the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, and the United Minorities Council. The 6B works with administration to raise the concerns of students of minoritized identities, and stand together to make our voices heard.
I have always been interested in issues of gender equity, but it took me a little while upon coming to Penn to figure out exactly how I wanted to engage with these issues given how many opportunities there are on campus. During my first semester I mainly focused on academics and getting settled in a new environment. While I have no regrets about that choice, it did mean that I missed a lot of programs targeting first year students. During my second semester I got more involved in Wharton student government, but realized I really did miss participating in groups with a more activism oriented focus. To address that, during the fall semester of sophomore year, I got involved with planning Women’s Week, which collaborates very closely with PAGE. That was my first real exposure to what PAGE does, and when the chance to run for a board position came up in my junior year, I ran and got elected in.
All in all, PAGE is one of the most meaningful organizations I have worked in and with during my time at Penn so far. I really appreciate getting to know all of the other board members and working in purposeful, likeminded spaces on a regular basis.