Sarena Kirk

Major: Sociology/MCGS Women’s Studies
Hometown: Chico, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: LGBTQ+ Coordinator | Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC)

How did you first get connected with GSEC?
A year ago I attended a GSEC sponsored Take Back the Night event called Survivor Speak Out and was completely inspired. I participated in a downtown march with my mom and dad and understood how powerful the GSEC message was. It was the opportunity to create a space to empower survivors and increase awareness about violence against women. I was so moved and inspired by the passion of the GSEC interns. I knew right away that I wanted to become one of them. So, I did an MCGS internship with GSEC last spring, but I didn’t want my involvement to stop there. I knew I had the leadership and dedication to continue, so I applied for the position of coordinator for the LGBTQ+ Program.

How would you describe your current role with GSEC?
AS the LGBTQ+ coordinator, I will be working with interns to put on events throughout the semester that celebrate and bring awareness about the LGBTQ+ community. I will help foster my interns’ activism and skills to empower them to feel stronger in their voices and their ability to affect change while staying true to our mission of inclusivity and diversity. We’ll be sponsoring a welcome reception in September, Queer Week in October, and the culminating event of our semester will be the annual LGBTQ+ conference in November.

What does working for GSEC do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
GSEC gives me a platform for the theory I learn in the classroom; an outlet for the anger I feel about injustice in society; and a safe place to bond and collaborate with others who share my values of making change.

What do YOU bring to the table in your position with the GSEC?
I’ve always had many interests, but I’ve lacked an overall direction or focus for my passion. With GSEC, I’m able to tap into all those talents and skills – creativity, public speaking, my artistic skills, and especially all the relationships I’ve built on campus and in the community since I grew up here. I have a very positive outlook which I bring wherever I go. I wake up feeling that way every day!

What are your career plans and how does your job with the Associated Students better prepare you for that path?
I have no specific game plan right now, but I want to do something related to community organizing, perhaps working with non-profits. I want to be where I’m allowed to work with others who are motivated to make change. Graduate school might be another consideration. However, I have a lot of learning to do for my own personal growth. Taking a break from the academic world might help deepen my understanding of who I am and what I want to do.