The social change model. I have heard it discussed many times throughout my now three years in WILL. But I ask myself, am I changing? Is this model something I even want for myself?
As I began my WILL journey I could see myself growing and changing as an individual, becoming more confident in my leadership abilities, questioning of what is to be masculine and feminine (umm, do we even need labels?), and even learning to claim the word feminist for myself. I gladly helped facilitate an activity at our second WILL retreat when our new members joined us. But as I reflect on my current WILL journey and experience as I begin my senior year I am not sure how I feel about my growth in WILL particularly the with the social change model and activism components.
I enjoy going to WILL every Monday and seeing all the wonderful people who are a part of the group. I always love taking time at the beginning of our meetings to listen to the highs and lows in everyone’s lives. But our second “official” meeting of the semester struck a different chord with me. It was time for us to learn about the social change model… again. The social change model is a big part of WILL that I do think it is important for the new members to understand it and learn what it is. But for myself, a returning WILLer, I viewed it as a chore to listen to the model being described. Personally, I am confident in WILLer’s abilities to read the given information outside of our meetings about the social change model. For myself, learning about the social change model each year is repetitive and I wonder; is it the social change model allowing me to grow?
One thing we are doing better in WILL this year, is finding more ways to bridge theory and practice. For me, that means helping to plan a feminist campus event this spring. I think this can be a good opportunity for me to grow, as a person and as a leader, in my feminist leadership. But I also wonder is this project going to allow me to grow? Does this feminist campus event have a common purpose that I can align myself with and firmly stand behind? Am I willing and able to find the time and effort to put into the project? Am I biting off more than I can chew with the weekly time commitment?
I enjoy having my WILL time and being a citizen of WILL. I do find myself learning as we have talked about cultural appreciation and the use of abilist language. But I also find myself wondering, is WILL still a place where I am growing and changing? Do I need to take a step back and check myself to see the benefits? Am I embracing the social change model and looking for ways to grow, or am I going through the motions to keep my head above the water.
Katie Britt is a senior. This is her third year in WILL.