How many students at Occidental know what the CGE is? Better yet, how many students have actually set foot inside of it? (It’s in the basement of Stewie). CGE stands for the Center for Gender Equity and, according to our website, its mission is to address the needs of women, men, and transgender members on campus by providing support, advocacy and programming that promotes awareness, personal empowerment, mutual respect and equity. The CGE is also supposed to provide a gathering space for all students at Oxy to study, relax, plan activities, and receive resources on issues regarding gender, sexuality, identity and the diverse community of Occidental College.
In reality, however, the few events the CGE does host are often sparsely attended and certainly don’t require the entire large, downstairs common room of Stewie. Throughout most of the day, the CGE is empty, with its lights off and its doors closed. Stewie is the largest freshman dorm on campus, yet it is the only one without a second common room. Additionally, while the Braun and Pauley common rooms are often desolate after midnight, one can find students throughout the Stewie common room well into the early hours of the morning. Our dorm has already been relieved of our piano, stripped of our pool table and saddled with showers straight out of a B-rate slasher movie. An auxiliary common room downstairs would provide an excellent study room for students (another feature Stewie lacks) because, as everyone who lives her can attest to, the current Stewie common room is so animated it may be the least productive place on campus.
I think the CGE is an excellent idea and should actually become a more visible and involved group on campus, I just don’t believe that the basement of Stewie is the place to achieve this. Moving the CGE to a smaller, more central location on campus would not only benefit the CGE by making it more accessible to the general student body, but it would also give Stewie residents another desperately needed common area.
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