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CWGE aims to improve gender equity, inclusion among students

To provide a unique space for women and gender non-conforming individuals on campus to have a voice in administrative decisions, the Commission on Women and Gender Equity works to provide a safe, productive environment for all.

The CWGE was established in 1997 by former University President Albert Yates to address gender issues, according to the organization’s website. Their vision is to “make Colorado State University the best environment for women to work, in any capacity — and all women, born female or not, are included in this understanding.”

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The CWGE is just one of three presidential commissions at CSU, with the others being focused on diversity and inclusion and sustainability. The commission is composed of 14 appointed members, including undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members.

“The commission is a representative body within the University,” said Cori Wong, co-chair for the CWGE and assistant vice president for gender equity. “We keep track of how we’re doing as an institution regarding gender and make recommendations to the administration about areas of concern or opportunities for improvement.”

The main focus of the CWGE is to address pressing issues related to gender to ensure that all genders have equal representation within the University.

“The Commission voting members are complemented by non-voting representatives from offices and organizations across campus addressing gender equity,” said Amy Swan, a member of the CWGE and research associate with the University’s natural resource ecology laboratory.

In May 2014, President Tony Frank updated the charge of the CWGE, asking them to identify campus climate concerns and provide information to school officials that would allow them to increase inclusion of all genders.

“We are independent and have direct channels to speak to the President of the University and the Administration,” Wong said. “This allows us to be a voice and acknowledge where we should be making progress.”

If a student has a concern they want to take to the Commission, they are encouraged to reach out to the Commission via their website.

Although all student positions have been filled for the current turn, Swan encourages students to apply as positions open up in the future.

The CWGE also has a role in supporting other programs on campus.

“We’ve worked on campus safety and supporting the Safe Walk program,” said Susan James, the previous chair for the commission.

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James said they also advocate for campus breastfeeding areas for student mothers and support the Women and Gender Advocacy Center.

James explained that one of the importances of the commission is what it creates for campus culture.

CWGE benefits everyone on campus, including students, by promoting an environment at Colorado State University that fosters productive and supportive relationships and interactions among people,” James said

Delaney Allen can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @DelaneyAllen0.

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