Fairfield University project among 15 national finalists for White House Champions of Change Challenge



Image: Fairfield UniversityFairfield University's student-led initiative, has been selected from among thousands of proposals from across the nation as one of the 15 top finalists for the first ever White House Champions of Change Challenge. Selection of the top five projects will be determined by a public vote on the project that best embodies President Barack Obama's goal to win the future. The top five vote getters will be honored at a March 15th reception at the White House. Moving is currently in progress and will continue through Saturday, March 3.

Individuals may vote on the project by visiting the following website: https://campuschallenge.uservoice.com/forums/148562-campus-champions-of-change-challenge

The Fairfield project, The Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons, was begun by Rachel Lang, a member of the class of 2014 from Milford, Connecticut, who is majoring in International Studies and Politics. Lang worked with Marssa Tota, senior, Alex Cody, senior, Alicia Bissonnette, senior, Jesus Nunez, sophomore, and Astrid Quinones, sophomore , to create a safe space on campus to converse about LGBTQ issues as well as those pertaining to gender, sex, or sexuality. Their goal was to claim a space to create and foster an all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities. In the process of creating this physical space in a residence hall on campus, the student leaders involved collaborated with the Office of Diversity Programming, Women's Studies Department and campus clubs including Alliance, and Sisters Inspiring Sisters. The space acts as a central location for individuals and organizations to have meetings, discussions and to network both inside and beyond Fairfield to combat injustice.

"This is a collective space for men and women to engage in an ongoing dialogue about the gender and sexuality injustices that occur on campus and beyond. Such dialogue will contribute to mutual understanding and active service focused around these issues," Lang said. "We envisioned this environment as helping to foster growth in our community so that students of diverse genders and sexualities are distinguished as equals in academics, athletics, and social interactions," she continued.

The White House announcement on the finalists quoted President Obama as saying, "All Across America, college and university students are helping our country out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world," said President Obama. "I hope this challenge shines a light on their efforts, and inspires Americans of all ages to get involved in their communities.

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Media Contact: Martha Milcarek, Asst. Vice President for Public Relations, (203) 254-4190

Posted on February 24, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 206