People who walked into the Plemmons Student Union last week might have been greeted with candy, condoms and bright pink “I stand with Planned Parenthood” stickers. These were handed out by the App State Planned Parenthood club, or campus’ Generation Action Chapter, as a way of spreading the word about the work they are doing on campus.
The App State chapter, which started this semester, is one of more than 300 Generation Action groups across the country. The groups are funded by Planned Parenthood with the goal of educating people about sexual health and advocating for reproductive freedom.
“Mostly what we’ve done so far has been event based and education based,” Katie Wynn, a sophomore public relations major and president of the App State Generation Action Chapter, said.
The newly formed club has been making a name for itself through a wide range of events. Earlier this semester, they partnered with Wellness and Prevention Services to put on a sex ed trivia night, an event where participants could compete to answer questions about sexual health.
Their partnerships have also extended to the Latina sorority on campus, Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc. for an upcoming showing of the film “Dolores,” which focuses on the activism of labor leader Dolores Huerta.
A common misconception about the club is that they are a political organization or a fundraising group.
“One of the main things we’ve faced is people thinking Planned Parenthood is a political organization, when it’s not. It’s bipartisan,” Wynn said. “There’s so many connotations, positive and negative, attached to Planned Parenthood.”
Wynn stressed the fact that the club does not fundraise for Planned Parenthood. Their events are only for the purpose of educating, raising awareness and providing service.
Even though there is no Planned Parenthood facility in Boone (the nearest one is in Asheville), some members got involved with the organization through volunteering.
The club’s event coordinator, freshman political science major Maggie Behm, has been involved with Planned Parenthood since her freshman year of high school.
“I started volunteering there (at the Raleigh location) truly just to get community service hours, and then I realized how much they do as an organization,” Behm said.
Behm said she faced some opposition from protesters during her time volunteering in Raleigh but has not encountered any problems from App State students. Wynn believes that college students are generally accepting of the organization.
“Our generation is more likely to be in favor of Planned Parenthood, whereas if we were out in the community we might have a few more issues,” Wynn said.
The Planned Parenthood club is always welcoming new members, and since it is still fairly small, people have plenty of opportunities for involvement, according to sophomore sociology major Chloe Starr, a member of the club.
“Everyone has a role and everyone’s able to be involved with everything we do. Even if someone doesn’t have a title, people have a purpose in the club,” Starr said.
She emphasized that the casual environment of the club does not take away from the fact that the members are putting in work to make a difference and working to tackle big issues regarding reproductive freedom and sexual health.
The Planned Parenthood Generation Action chapter meets every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Women’s Center in the Plemmons Student Union. They are currently accepting new members.
Story by: Emily Baeszler, Intern Reporter
Photos courtesy of: Katie Wynn and Emma Start
Featured Photo Caption: Member Chloe Starr and Event Coordinator Maggie Behm at the Planned Parenthood table in the Student Union.