This past Monday, November 27, two first-year students, Ella Charlesworth and Madison Dempster, held a showing of The Hunting Ground, a documentary on sexual assault on college campuses, in the Winston Room. The showing was part of a project the two women are working on for their First-Year-Program, which encompasses a CBL component. As part and parcel of the project, the two students are also establishing a new group on campus: Planned Parenthood Generation Action.
Since earlier this fall, Charlesworth and Dempster have been working in conjunction with the local Planned Parenthood. asked about their decision to work with Planned Parenthood, Charlesworth and Dempster stated: “We both are interested in social advocacy and taking action on campus to promote positive change within our community. We wanted to work with Planned Parenthood to expand our skills and knowledge as developing activists.”
In addition to regularly volunteering at the Planned Parenthood down the road, Charlesworth and Dempster have started a Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) group on campus. Their Planned Parenthood mentor, Hannah Lee, has closely worked with the two students to get the group up and running.
PPGA is a nationwide network of young activists campaigning for reproductive freedom and attempting to raise awareness of reproductive health concerns. The network has groups scattered across various college campuses and communities throughout the country.
According to the Planned Parenthood website, “Planned Parenthood Generation Action is committed to building a robust, national network of young leaders and arming them with the tools needed to create change through a range of national campaigns, conferences, and leadership opportunities.”
The two women thought that screening The Hunting Ground would be a good place to start, as the documentary tackles an issue that’s been at the forefront of campuses nationwide for the last few years: campus sexual assault. After the documentary wrapped up, Professor Jennifer MacGregor, of the Gender Studies department, facilitated a dialogue between viewers about what they had seen, at the request of Charlesworth and Dempster.
All those in attendance remarked on the shock factor of the documentary, with Dean Tolliver even going so far as to equate the documentary to a real-life horror film.
Charlesworth and Dempster are hopeful that the SLU sector of PPGA will prosper on campus, stating: “The goal of PPGA is to engage and educate young adults and community members on women’s rights and reproductive health, as well as build and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment. We are looking forward to growing our club.”