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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Every human issue is an issue for everyone’: FOCUS promotes political awareness, inclusivity

Easton+Vogt%2C+FOCUS+campus+outreach+chair%2C+and+Elisabeth+Benteman%2C+FOCUS+health+and+wellness+chair%2C+pose+for+a+photo.+%28Photo+illustration%29
Jocelynn Cavender
Easton Vogt, FOCUS campus outreach chair, and Elisabeth Benteman, FOCUS health and wellness chair, pose for a photo. (Photo illustration)

Both on and off campus, a student group is working to promote intersectionality and equality. The group, known as Feminists on Campus Uniting Students (FOCUS), aims to educate students and advocate for the rights of marginalized groups.

According to the group’s campus outreach chair, Easton Vogt, the group does much more than promote women’s rights.

“It’s a political group, but we educate people about … fourth-wave feminism that takes an intersectionalist approach,” Vogt said. “We try to work with as many people as possible and be as inclusive as possible. It’s beyond the stereotypical feminism that people perceive as just being about women’s rights.”

Elisabeth Benteman, FOCUS health and wellness chair, explained that the group promotes intersectionality and reproductive rights, in addition to “anti-racist, pro-LGTBQ” views. Benteman also shared the group’s goals to educate students.

“We have educational meetings, but we usually try to keep them pretty chill,” Benteman said. “We usually have activities for people to do. Our primary goal is to provide a space for people to learn about issues they might not be aware of and find out how they can advocate for underrepresented groups.”

According to Benteman, FOCUS is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates, but the organization does campaign for issues that uphold the group’s values, such as the pro-abortion “Vote No” campaign in 2022.

“We will often discuss elections and voting, but we don’t take any stance on specific politicians,” Benteman said. “We are politically active in terms of different laws and legislature, but not in promoting voting for any candidates.”

More recently, FOCUS was involved with advocating for the free menstrual products offered at Wichita State, which can now be found in various locations around campus.

“We helped partake a little bit in the menstrual act that we just recently passed on campus,” Vogt said. “That should be a right, in my opinion. (FOCUS also promoted) understanding on campus that not just women menstruate and that having products in our other restrooms was also highly important.”

Vogt explained that students should get involved with the group because it can expand their worldviews.

“It’s greatly important, because I think when you study the patriarchy, (you see) how it impacts every single person negatively,” Vogt said. “You realize every human issue is an issue for everyone. You start to advocate for humans in a very holistic way. Instead of just worrying about what impacts me, you start worrying about what’s impacting everyone else.”

Students interested in learning more about FOCUS can attend the group’s Monday meetings each week at 5:30 p.m. in room 261 of the Rhatigan Student Center, or follow @feminists_wsu on Instagram.

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About the Contributors
Avery Gathright, Reporter
Avery Gathright is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. Gathright is a secondary education major with an emphasis in English. She hopes to eventually teach AP Literature. Gathright uses she/her pronouns.
Jocelynn Cavender, Former photographer
Jocelynn Cavender was a first-year photographer for The Sunflower. Cavender has a pet hamster named Beans. Cavender uses she/her pronouns.

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