Gina Vaynshteyn
December 08, 2014 6:08 am

For their final writing and composition project of the semester, I wanted students in my Rhetoric class at San Diego State University to write opinion pieces about topics they were most passionate about. We had been reading and writing about other peoples’ words, and now it was their turn to craft their own.

Meanwhile, a week or so before I gave the assignment, our campus was in turmoil. Young men from Sigma Epsilon Phi and Delta Sigma Phi disrupted an on-campus march against sexual violence (Take Back The Night) by throwing sex toys and eggs at the young women, while yelling obscenities. The night after that, a young woman reported that someone had sexually assaulted her at party close to campus. Shortly after this, a female student reportedly told SDSU officials that six men tried to force her into their car.

All students and faculty received an e-mail after those incidents from the dean of SDSU notifying us that fraternity events had been cancelled until further notice. But the fact that female students didn’t feel safe being on campus really worried and saddened me.

One of my students, Sierra Shultz, felt the same way. Sierra e-mailed me: “As a feminist, I was sad that as far as we have come, things like this are still happening; That there are still people, people on our own campus, who do not respect women, and do not take sexual violence seriously.” So the freshman theater major, decided to accompany her final essay with a short video that addressed this issue in a really positive way.

In the video, she interviewed SDSU students, asking them why they considered themselves to be feminists. The answers coming from these 18-year-olds made me want to cry happy teacher tears. Here’s Sierra’s final project (she’ll probs get an A):

Sierra Schultz is an aspiring singer, actress, and writer based out of San Diego, California. She posts frequently on her blog and YouTube channel, and is committed to inspiring confidence and body positivity in young women. 

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