California State University, Northridge officials have renamed, reinvented and reimagined the university’s Institute of Feminist Studies and Social Action (IFFSA), providing the campus with a think tank to inspire participation in guiding social change.
The institute launched earlier this year and signifies the reactivation of a campus organization that last operated in the 90s. The new institute has expanded on the ideas and mission of its original incarnation as the Institute of Gender, Globalization & Democracy, formerly housed in the Department of Political Science.
Partnering with other campus and community organizations, such as Project Rebound and the Women’s Research and Resource Center, “the institute aims to highlight unheard student voices while making Gender and Women’s Studies course content accessible to everyone,” said Breny Mendoza, chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies in CSUN’s College of Humanities and a key player in the launch of the Institute of Feminist Studies and Social Action.
Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of students and faculty, Mendoza, who was a member of the original institute, said IFFSA’s updated mission and goals were adjusted to address the “relevant crises of today’s social, political and economic reality.”
The program will plan conferences, host lecture series, guest speakers, research opportunities, structured educational mentorship and grant research awards enabling increased student engagement with interdisciplinary socio-political issues.
“Education is not just about a degree and getting a job,” Mendoza said. “It’s about becoming a concerned and active citizen with the ability to be part of solutions that promote the values of democracy and social justice.”
The space also will serve the campus and greater community in building a platform for discussion – one in which the students play a key-role in shaping – that can elevate awareness for Gender and Women’s studies related issues inside and outside of the classroom, Mendoza said.
“Low enrollment on the university level is happening everywhere, in part, because of the very issues we are talking about right now,” said Mendoza. “If we realize our dreams about this institute, it could truly offer a new kind of visibility to the university.”
Mendoza said she hoped that the new institute will play a role in mentoring, motivating and guiding the next generation of students through their educational journey, by creating “a community of thinkers and doers that are built to brainstorm and innovate creative ways to address our society’s social inequities.”
For more information on the institute visit, https://www.csun.edu/institute-feminist-studies-social-action. Donate to the Gender and Women’s Studies department and help fund the institute’s programming by visiting, https://engage.csun.edu/givenow.