North Texas Daily

UNT students hope to start student organization on reproductive justice

UNT students hope to start student organization on reproductive justice

UNT students hope to start student organization on reproductive justice
September 14
10:00 2018

Psychology sophomore Leslie Lopez and fashion merchandising sophomore Isabelle Vigil hope to bring a student organization to campus all about reproductive justice. They call it Reproductive Rights of Student Educators (ROSE).

This idea began to grow when Lopez attended a Civil Liberty and Public Policy conference back in April, where she engaged in various workshops but one particularly on student organizations. After learning and educating others about reproductive justice, Lopez says she felt empowered to bring something similar to UNT.

“UNT would benefit from something regarding reproductive justice,” Lopez said.

Lopez shared her thoughts and experiences with Vigil, who was on board and supportive of creating a student organization all about educating others about reproductive rights. Having felt like a bystander in previous clubs and organizations, Vigil said she was ready to be a part of an organization where she did not feel like the odd man out.

“I spent all of my freshman year being in politically-driven organizations and I felt out of place,” Vigil said.

Membership would be open to all currently enrolled UNT students and would require no application or interview process. Lopez and Vigil seek to make the membership process easily accessible to encourage students to be involved. Lopez and Vigil say ROSE membership would be built on inclusivity and diversity. According to the ROSE constitution, membership is open to all students regardless of their background, race, gender or sexual orientation.

ROSE would be an organization that would encompass a variety of activities allowing its members to engage in public discussion. Sex education, a local activist panel, a documentary and TED Talk showings are just a couple of activities Lopez and Vigil hope to integrate into their weekly meetings.

“I want people leaving [our meetings] and [saying], ‘This is what I learned,’” Lopez said.

This student organization would come at no cost to members. Lopez and Vigil see a membership fee as an obstacle that stops students, or potential members, from becoming involved.

“It’s a barrier that stops people from joining organizations and based on the organizations I’ve given money to, I tend to not see where that money goes,” Lopez said.

Under the UNT Division of Student Affairs website, a list of requirements for new student organizations can be found. One of those requirements is a mission statement of the organization. The ROSE’s mission statement is:

“The mission of Reproductive Rights Organization of Student Educators is to raise awareness over the issues that intersect with reproductive justice by providing a space for individuals to learn, and train fellow members to give reproductive justice 101 trainings to the various organizations on campus in an effort to increase knowledge about intersectionality.”

For Lopez and Vigil, it is important that ROSE continues to celebrate the diversity of UNT, while also ensuring that all members share the same vision of making a difference. As many people are unfamiliar with the concept of reproductive justice, the ROSE’s main goal is to educate and encourage students to be leaders of change in their respective communities.

“Our organization has a mission,” Vigil said. “We want to go out and further this education, further this topic, [and] further the discussion.”

Being students and founders of a student organization can be challenging, but the founders say they are not afraid of the issues that may arise. Lopez and Vigil have worked together to make their schedules free on Thursdays, the days they plan to hold ROSE meetings. They are aware that there will be obstacles along the way but are more than ready to tackle them because their vision for ROSE makes the challenge worth it.

“I’m a student first, but because of that, I want to make a change on this campus,” Lopez said.

The UNT Student Activities will accept new organization applications from Sept. 7 through Nov. 9. After that, applicants will have to wait until the spring semester to apply.

 Lopez and Vigil will find out if ROSE will be a part of the over 425 student organizations at UNT in the spring semester. For now, they will wait and continue to work on creating their own hub for UNT students.

Featured Image: ROSE organization founders Leslie Lopez and Isabelle Vigil come together to spread information about reproductive justice. Sergio Benitez

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Sergio Benitez

Sergio Benitez

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