URGE: The re-established campus organization

Re-established: Washburn URGE is an organization that is making changes. The organization was established in order to do more for the campus and the community.

Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity or URGE is a new and reformed organization on Washburn’s campus.

Slowly rising in numbers, the organization is looking to spread awareness about various topics.

“We are a national group that was made to support young people of marginalized identities, and fight issues that pertain to reproductive rights and gender,” said Chloe Chaffin, a sophomore secondary English education major and president of the organization.

The essence of URGE is to educate and help members stand up for what they believe in.

The organization was originally on campus many years ago but fizzled out after a while. Chaffin was able to reinstate this organization, and wants to make sure it stays on campus.

Working for Loud Light, Chaffin found that many organizations had a common goal. As the only college student at various events, Chaffin was approached by one of the state organizers for URGE.

“One of the state organizers for URGE asked me how I got involved with this work because I was the youngest person in the room,” said Hein. “When I mentioned I was a Washburn student, this organizer had said she had been looking for somebody to take up the mantle at Washburn to re-establish a chapter that we had had here a couple of years ago that just fizzled out before I ever got on campus.”

Chaffin said she believed in the work and was passionate to serve both the campus and community, so she decided to join.

URGE has started to do some planning as to what its goals are on campus and in the community. A lot of that planning happens in the meetings.

“A bunch of URGE members also participated in the Topeka Women’s March and were volunteers at the event as well. URGE also plans to bring speakers on campus and we may do something like documentary movie nights. What that looks like is still up in the air, but we had a lot of great brainstorming at our meeting,” said Chaffin.

Many members are already very involved with URGE and appreciate what the organization is doing.

“I think reproductive justice is really important and gender equity is too. My school system failed me in sex education, and I feel like it often happens elsewhere and that leads to unplanned pregnancies and people having to make those tough decisions. I just thought it was a really great advocating group,” said Sophia Frick, a senior physics major and URGE member.

Frick learned about the organization from Chaffin when it was mentioned in passing and she decided to join because of her similar values to URGE.

After going to the first meeting, Frick plans to stick around for URGE’s future because of the mobility the organization has.

“I think a lot of the time, we can sit down and talk about issues, but not take action or know how to take that first step,” said Frick. “There is no harm in trying. Going to a meeting doesn’t mean you are committed to anything. You can come and hear us out. If you are a little overwhelmed or have realized you don’t see eye-to-eye with us, we would love to hear your opinion and talk it out.”

URGE is welcoming to all ideas and members want others to feel validated and comfortable about their opinions.

The safe environment created by URGE caught the attention of Samantha Starkey, a junior psychology major.

“I wanted to join URGE because I think it is really important to give people more knowledge on reproductive rights and everything. I was raised in an area where they didn’t really believe in all of that and it is something that I am personally really passionate about,” said Starkey. “I thought by joining URGE I could get involved in the movement.”

Like Frick, Starkey heard about URGE through Chaffin and decided to go to the first meeting.

“I really enjoyed going to our first meeting because there was coloring and conversations about our rights. It was really fun! My favorite part is just how comfortable everyone is with everyone else,” said Starkey.

The organization is hoping to gain more members and help enlighten people about its values and goals.

Chaffin wanted to share information on how to contact or join URGE, “Follow us on Instagram @washburnurge, DM us there or email me at [email protected].”

The organization holds meetings every other Tuesday in the Myriad room in the LLC from 7:30 – 8:30, accommodations can be made if need be.

With all this information and the different opinions, URGE is an organization that allows thoughts and opinions from anyone.

“People should give us a chance, I know that a lot of these issues seem to be politically charged but we don’t always need to politicize some of these things. While politics do matter and we do want you to be engaged, don’t write off these issues if you think you already feel one way about it until you come to one of our meetings and just hear us out,” Chaffin said.

Edited by Kyle Manthe
Edited by Ellie Walker