The Women’s Center, in addition to being a resource for survivors of sexual assault on campus, creates and executes a steady stream of new events to empower women at NC State and in the surrounding community. One of these, the Women’s Center Book Club, was implemented with the goal of connecting women not just on campus, but across the nation and around the world through shared experience.
Brooke Suermann, a third-year studying creative writing and women’s and gender studies, facilitates the book club and spoke about why it meets.
“We meet on a weekly basis and just kind of discuss what we’ve been reading and discuss it in a space of how it matters in the world view, how it matters in our lives and how we can use this to become better activists and better people,” Suermann said.
The book club meets weekly to discuss the current reading, and moves on to a new book every month. Suermann said the Women’s Center even partners with other organizations to host book clubs on other days of the week as well.
“We’re partnering with Multicultural Student Affairs, that is for Latinx Heritage Month; that starts Thursday [Sept. 12],” Suermann said. “That’s one book, but that’s a shorter period of time. Then we do a Women’s Herstory Month book club as well, and that’s in March.”
Angela Gay, assistant director for the Women’s Center, reflected on the effect the book clubs have had on their participants.
“People were able to find power and empowerment from other people’s words, from the way they lived their lives, their experiences, and how they could then begin to make sense of their own experiences,” Gay said.
Gay said books such as like “Proud” by Ibtihaj Muhammad and “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color” by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa address a wide spread of issues and help broaden readers’ understanding of other cultures and the world at large.
“‘Signs Preceding the End of the World’ was about a young Latina girl traveling across the border, which is really relevant in a time where we’re still thinking about borders and what borders look like and trying to surpass borders in our world,” Gay said. “So, books make meaning of the world in multiple ways, through one perspective, but when we read them, we can see so many different perspectives and see how systems fail and how systems work in multiple ways.”
The Women’s Center book club meets Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the Women’s Center on the fifth floor of Talley Student Union. To find this month’s reading or learn more about the Women’s Center, visit its website.