Although March is Women’s History Month, at GCC women make a difference every month, through social activism and on-campus work in clubs, student government, and campus life.
Elsa Urquilla has contributed to Glendale Community College as a three-semester member of ASGCC, starting as a representative of actvities, and then as a senator of activites and senator of campus relations. She is active in the Organization of Latinos for Higher Education, and this semester she is president of Alpha Gamma Sigma, the college’s honor society.
“I love to be involved and it feels good to make a difference,” Urquilla said. She cites her greatest accomplishment as being one of two students appointed to the CEO hiring committee, to help find a replacement for Dr. John Davitt, who retires this year after serving as president of the college for 21 years. “It’s been an amazing experience because I’ve been able to work with many different administrators, staff, faculty, and community members,” she said.
Urquilla, 21, feels proud to have a whole month dedicated to celebrating women. A few of her role models include her mother, who has overcome many struggles since she moved their family here from El Salvador, and Maya Angelou, whose poem “Still I Rise” she particularly admires. She looks up to Dr. Peggy Renner, a women’s history teacher here at GCC. She admires Renner for being a professional and knowledgeable woman, and for her commitment and devotion to the college.
Ligia Aleman, 18, is another student who is very involved. She is the president of the LAMBDA League, Glendale College’s club for gay and lesbian students, and was active in the club last semester before she was voted into office. In the fall she was also involved with the Association of Latin American Students and the Justice Coalition. “Ligia has all the qualities that notable leaders display,” said club member Tina Davtyan, also 18, “I’m glad to see such a strong female as the driving force behind the Lambda League.”
Aleman cites Rosa Parks as one of her role models because of her courage and her impact on society. Another influence of hers is the former president of the Human Rights Campaign, Cheryl A. Jacques, because of her head-on involvement in the fight for equal rights for the gay community. “I’m glad that there is a month dedicated to reminding ourselves of the equality that women fought for, and feels it is good that we recognize women whom have made a difference,” said Aleman.
Renner feels that Women’s History Month moves us towards a common team, to a place where we share the same problems, regardless of gender. “It is an opportunity for us each to examine the roles women have played in our society, and to notice the often subtle, but important things women have done throughout time,” she said.
This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Social Activism, Social Justice: Women as a Force for Change,” and Renner spoke of a few of her role models whom she thinks belong in this category. First, she cites Susan B. Anthony, “who was dedicated to giving women the right to vote. When challenged for her activism, she would say, ‘Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”
A second role model is Margaret Sanger, drove to make birth control legal in the 1910s, and then later helped push for medical research to create a birth control pill.
Finally she cites as an on-campus role model Dr. Jessica Gillooly, a psychology professor. “She is determined to help young women and men to explore the psychological force that shapes their lives,” said Renner.