SAN MARCOS – Of all the clubs at Palomar, there’s one group of students in particular advocating for gender equality and social justice.
Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) is a field that analyzes the complexities of race, gender, and sexuality in a cultural, social, and political setting. The GWS club is a group of students embracing this diversity and inclusion.
GWS is member-driven and focuses on open discussions as a meeting style. Based on the members’ interests, the meetings can consist of all types of topics. Particular subjects include abortion rights, LGBTQ concerns, mental health awareness, and anything else the members want to discuss.
On Nov. 1, GWS held a meeting about Día de Los Muertos, aka the Day of the Dead. Members learned about and honored the event by discussing personal experiences and watching videos provided by the president.
President Evelyn Galan joined GWS in 2021 and took on the presidential role after being the longest-standing member. Galan holds a big role as president. She works hard to provide memorable experiences for each meeting. On Nov. 1, she brought pan dulce (sweet bread) and hot chocolate for members to enjoy. Galan also runs the GWS social media accounts.
GWS has a vice president as well. This role goes to Lillie Gyurkovitz, who shared that she likes the club because it “fosters a sense of community on campus and community is important.” She also expressed how well the club reflects on college applications.
GWS club members from left to right: Professor Smith, Diane Moore, Evelyn Galan, Lillie Gyurkovitz, Esme Acikel. Photo credit: Rachel Hyman
The GWS members find it important for students to know that everyone is welcome to the club. Professor Devon Smith, who is also the club advisor, shared that “it is not just a club about women, everyone is welcome.”
The club’s representative, Esme Acikel, shared that she enjoys how small the club is now but would enjoy it if more people joined. “I want to be open to other people’s opinions,” she said. Acikel joined GWS after taking the matching class taught by Professor Smith. Professor Smith advocated for the club on the first day of class.
She also wants students to know there is a Gender and Women’s Studies major at Palomar.
Professor Smith is appreciated by the entire GWS club. In particular, club member Diane Moore shared her admiration at a recent meeting by saying, “She’s the reason I’m here” while pointing to Professor Smith.
GWS holds its meetings every Wednesday, alternating between Zoom and in-person gatherings on campus at room MD-206.
Corrections: A previous version of the story had the wrong abbreviation for Gender and Women’s Studies Club as “GSW,” which has been switched to “GWS.” A previous version misspelled a source’s name; it was “Diana Moore” and has been changed to “Diane Moore.”