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Men for Social Change strive to educate, change social norms

Social activist group works to bring light to toxic masculinity.

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Men for Social Change’s Teal Ribbon Event works to raise sexual violence awareness.

Men for Social Change’s Teal Ribbon Event works to raise sexual violence awareness.

Courtesy of Annika Krol

Courtesy of Annika Krol

Men for Social Change’s Teal Ribbon Event works to raise sexual violence awareness.

KATIE GROVES, Evergreen reporter

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Given the recent death of WSU football quarterback Tyler Hilinski, clubs and organizations on campus have focused on raising awareness not only of the importance of mental health, but other societal issues. Men for Social Change is working alongside some of these groups to broaden their reach on campus.

Men for Social Change is one of the six organizations at WSU that make up the Coalition for Women Students on campus.

“Our main goal is to raise awareness for men’s mental health, the importance of men breaking down gender norms by opening up on emotions and mental health as well as toxic masculinity,” club treasurer Annika Krol said. “We hope to do this by simply starting a conversation.”

Director of Social Media Sasha Schuster emphasized the importance of both genders taking part.

“It’s really good for women to be involved because I think they will be the driving force for addressing toxic masculinity,” Schuster said. “Men are encouraged to join as well because it’s about them and how they can deal with toxic masculinity.”

Men for Social Change partnered with ASWSU, the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council to host a program for author and sociologist Dr. Michael Kimmel, Krol said.

“Being such a small group, it was amazing to work with groups that organize events with so many people and with individuals who care so much about helping others,” Krol said.

The program will provide an opportunity for Dr. Kimmel to speak on campus about his best-selling book, Guyland. According to an interview on Inside Higher Ed with Michael Kimmel, the book offers an inside look on male development from ages 16 through 26 and the challenges men face during their college years.

“Men are taught to be less vulnerable,” Krol said, “and by simply asking questions, helping them understand why they feel the emotions they do and to most importantly not be ashamed can make such a big difference in someone’s life.”

The Guyland event was originally planned for Wednesday, Jan. 17, just a day after Hilinski’s death. Respectfully, Men for Social Change and its partners decided to reschedule the program, the date of which will be announced in the coming months.

Krol hopes the awareness that has come from the tragic loss of Hilinski will further emphasize the importance of opening a discussion about mental health, which could prevent the same thing from happening to someone else in the community.

According to their website, other issues Men for Social Change focuses on is educating men on social issues commonly misperceived as “women’s issues,” such as sexual violence, sexism, racism and classism.

To do this, the organization works closely with Green Dot and Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse. Men for Social Change plans on creating workshops with these organizations soon in order to align their common goals, Krol said.

The biggest activist event Men for Social Change has planned is their annual Teal Ribbon Event. This happens every year in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During the event, participants are encouraged to sign and pin up a teal ribbon on Glenn Terrell Mall to show solidarity with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.

If students want to get involved with Men for Social Change, they are always looking for new members. Currently they are a small group, with only 10 members.

“I think more people should join Men for Social Change because it kind of explores all aspects and topics of masculinity,” Schuster said. “The more people involved with the organization, the more input and creativity Men for Social Change will have as a group to spread awareness of toxic masculinity.”

Men for Social Change holds meetings from 5 – 6 p.m. every Thursday in CUB 206 to put on activities, workshops and plan events.

They recommend following and contacting them through Facebook, OrgSync and Instagram to get more information on how to join and stay up-to-date.

“Anyone is welcome to join, because we want a diverse group of people,” Schuster said.

 

 

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Men for Social Change strive to educate, change social norms