The Young Women's Studies Club at Hoover High School: Community Partner with the Department of Women's Studies at SDSU
SDSU's Department of Women's Studies has continued its mentoring relationship with the Young Women's Studies Club at Hoover High School for many years. Women’s Studies provides a graduate student assistant who organizes all events and activities alongside the elected Hoover student officers. Teachers from the Hoover campus who give their own time to these activities also advise the Club.
On average 25-40 students attend the weekly meetings. They are roughly 75% female, 25% male and come from widely diverse backgrounds, including African-American, Latino/a, Asian American (Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian), and Filipina (Eighty-to-ninety percent are students of color). They come from widespread points on the globe: Africa (Somalia and Tanzania), India, the Middle East, Russia and China. The meetings take place on Thursdays over the lunch hour in the homeroom of one of the teacher- advisors. The SDSU graduate student arranges for a pizza delivery each week, which gives the students maximum meeting time. The meal also builds a sense of socialibility and community.
Student mentors from SDSU join the Hoover students in their meetings. Prof. Susan Cayleff selects students enrolled in her General Education “Women in American History” course to participate in a Community Service Learning component with the Hoover YWSC. The college students are chosen for their interest in teaching this age group, previous related experiences, and the quality of their written applications. Like the Club members they mentor, the SDSU students are racially and ethnically diverse, and predominantly female. Since they attend all the Thursday meetings, a solid relationship can develop over the course of the year.
Events for each year are drawn from various sources. Some respond to current world happenings or interests of the Hoover students; several come from successful past events.
Sample activities are:
• HOMECOMING PARADE FLOAT: YWSC members and SDSU Women's Studies students conceptualize and create a “float” paying tribute to women in Hollywood for Hoover's annual Homecoming Parade. The women celebrated include actors, directors, producers and screenwriters. In regular meetings and after school, these inter-generational students collect posters and visuals, research descriptions, and decorate a van volunteered for the purpose. Club members and college students, dress as famous women performers, parade in front of the van carrying a banner announcing themselves as the YWSC. In a meeting shortly after this event, an SDSU Women's Studies professor shows clips of women in film, and a lively discussion followed.
• “CONSTRUCTED IMAGES” PROJECT: The Club and its mentors collect women's magazines from diverse cultural backgrounds. They creat tri-fold stand-up poster boards that depict the images used in advertising to show ideals of contemporary women from various ethnic/racial categories. This exercise leads to critiques of the sexualization of women, the presumption that all women are heterosexual, and the beauty ideals that are sold, marketed and demanded of women. These posters are displayed at both Hoover High School in the Multi-Media Center (library) and in Women's Studies classes at SDSU.
• COLLEGE APPLICATION WORKSHOP: Prior to colleges' application deadlines, SDSU Women's Studies M.A. students held a workshop with Club members on "How to Apply to College" and "How to Get Financial Aid." We have historical evidence that YWSC club members have a much higher than average college application--and attendance-- rate than their peers at Hoover High School precisely because of this mentoring.
• GUEST SPEAKER: An M.A. student at SDSU speaks on issues related to the research for her Master's thesis. The discussion can lead to personal stories and recollections. Appropriate measures were taken to direct students to counseling services after this discussion, especially if the topic relates to violence against women.
• WOMEN IN SPORTS NIGHT: The annual field trip to a Lady Aztecs game begins with a PowerPoint presentation by Prof. Cayleff on the History of Women in Sports while the attendees enjoy a pizza supper. This is followed by a game-show quiz format in which students are given small prizes for describing imaginary scenarios as women athletes in various eras. Then YWSC members, teachers, professors and SDSU college students attend a women's basketball game. At the game, the Hoover Club is acknowledged on the big-screen score board. Whenever possible, the event is scheduled on a designated "giveaway" night (e.g.: mini-basketballs or t-shirts) and on occasion have been able to meet with the coach and players after the game so the Club members get autographs and ask questions. This is always a highly popular event that emphasizes the importance of attending college, the desirability of participating in sports, and mentoring amongst the Club members and SDSU students.
• WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH POSTER CONTEST: This event involves research, constructing a visual presentation, and collaborative work between high school and college students. When the entries are completed (usually about 20-25 of them; some are team efforts) there are prizes for winning posters in various categories (e.g.: Best Biographical Entry; Best Representation of Multi-Cultural Political Activism and so on...) are given. This event has historically drawn the University President, Provost, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Women's Studies faculty and SDSU students from various Women's Studies classes. Ribbons are given to all participants; winners described their posters and the research sources they consulted. On occasion, the Club students have done “performance pieces” at this event. In former years these have been: historical readings (in period dress) of The Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiment, and a rap performance of “Ain't Nothin' But A She Thang.”
• THE CLOTHESLINE PROJECT: This project began as a way for survivors of domestic and relationship partner abuse to express themselves. The students were provided with blank t-shirts in which they drew and inscribed messages of survival and affirmation. All t-shirts made a statement against violence against women--regardless of whether the students had experienced it personally (many had). The T-shirts were displayed at the high school to let other students view their work and their important messages. Note: creative projects of this nature are also very popular and frequently repeated. A variation of this is a collectively made quilt. On each square, students were asked to articulated salient features of their ethnic/racial/geographical heritage of which they are proud. One such completed quilt is on permanent display at Hoover High School.
• FIELD TRIP: WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM: This organization has recently moved to Liberty Station San Diego. The community based non-profit houses a museum space, archives and a library detailing diverse women's contributions to American and world history. Students are driven there to view an exhibit on the California Suffrage Movement in the early twentieth century as well as a collection of historical clothing. After a presentation, students engage in a quiz-show question and answer format and prizes are given for those who had listened attentively. Often the visit is extended as students become intrigued by all of the holdings and items at the museum.
• PICNIC at Balboa Park: this annual event is a cookout, softball game and exchange of ideas and plans for the summer and upcoming year. At this session, YWSC club members who have been admitted to college detail their plans. SDSU students share their insights about COLLEGE LIFE as well.
• Field trip to view SDSU IN-CLASS PRESENTATIONS IN CAYLEFF’S “WOMEN IN AMERICAN HISTORY” CLASS: This final activity is aimed at encouraging the YWSC club members to view SDSU as their potential college campus. They sit-in a junior/senior level class while students present findings on their research topics. They also participate in the question and answer period. When the YWSC Community Service Learning SDSU'ers talk about their experiences with the YWSC, the Club members are there and contribute to that presentation.
Susan E. Cayleff firstname.lastname@example.org
The Andrea O'Donnell Women's Outreach Association
The Andrea O'Donnell Women's Resource Center (WRC) is a feminist resource and activist organization serving the students of SDSU and nearby communities. Their resources include a loan library of books, course readers, newsletters, journals, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines and brochures. They are also trying to build their "video library" and are always welcoming of donations. With the construction of a new student union on campus, they are currently looking for a meeting space until the new building opens (est. Fall 2013). The events they annually sponsor and/or organize are: Bridging the Gap Teen Conference for underprivileged and pregnant teens, Take Back the Night, Women's Film Festival, Making Strides Agains Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, Love Your Body Day, and they are currently working very hard to create a true Women's Center on campus.
or the faculty advisor, Professor Doreen Mattingly at MATTINGL@mail.sdsu.edu.
The Andrea O'Donnell Women's Resource Center is named in honor of the Women's Studies major and Resource Center student leader who was murdered by her boyfriend in 1995. Her work on behalf of improving women's lives and her tragic death inspire and remind us about the empowerment women can experience and still be subject to abuse.
The main goals of the Center include:
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Last Update: 12/5/12