Club Spotlight: The Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism (CGSA)

Hannah Martin (CAS ’25)

In the basement of the George Sherman Union located in Central campus, you will find a lot of different, cool places. One area being the BU Central, where student organizations can book the space and hold events, largely shows or something to utilize the stage in the room. There are also the Boston University Student Government offices, and even a Plan B vending machine which was put in by Students for Reproductive Freedom (another club on campus). These additions to the BU campus are great, and truly deserve more foot traffic than it receives since it is hidden down in the basement. However, the true hidden gem of the building is the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism (CGSA). 

CGSA is the one of the only student organizations on campus that maintains a fully student-owned space. It is dedicated to being a safe space for all students, regardless of identity. It is an extremely welcoming environment, as there is usually candy and stickers at the front desk, an art wall, and the legendary purple couches decorated with pillows and throw blankets. Students can go down there to study, hang out with friends, attend club meetings, sleep, and eat bagels (for free on fridays!) at the CGSA. This organization is truly like no other due to its defining and unique characteristics, and I am going to tell you why. 

THE SPACE/ROOMS

At Boston University, it is really rare for clubs to have a physical pace. However, CGSA is responsible for four rooms in the basement of the GSU. When you first arrive, you are in the main room which connects to a partial kitchen. The main room looks similar to a typical living room; there’s couches, a small table, and a desk right next to the door. If you turn to your left you will see a kitchen area, supplied with a refrigerator, freezer, toaster, and even a coffee maker! There is also a large table where you can do homework, or eat a meal with friends. 

This already seems pretty great, huh? Amazingly, it gets even better. There are two doors you can enter after you walk through the main area. The door on the right allows you to enter into the Womb Room. The Womb Room is a space on campus where students can be completely alone for a while to take care of themselves. Students can take a needed nap or even cry in this room. It is stocked with affirmations, sensory items, and a couch. Currently, the CGSA is trying to get more rooms like this put in across campus!

Directly across from the Womb Room is a new addition to the space: The Gender-Affirming Room for Belonging (GARB). GARB is a physical space on campus for transgender, non-binary, or otherwise gender nonconforming students to explore and affirm their identity and expression. The room is stocked with makeup, clothing, shaving products, and other gender-affirming items! It just launched this November, and to launch the room CGSA held a fashion show for all to attend. It was a great success, and everyone is so excited for students to have this necessary resource on campus. 

There is one other room in the CGSA and frankly, I think it is underrated. This room is titled the Library Room, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Students can go in this room to study, collaborate on a group project, or even take a zoom call. There are bookshelves, tables, and even a tiny trophy with Rhett on top of it. 

THE CLUBS

CGSA hosts clubs in its space, and allows organizations to become “CGSA clubs”. This basically means that they get the opportunity to use the CGSA space, whether that be for storage, meetings, or other events. A lot of students find CGSA through attending meetings for another club in the space. In order for clubs to gain this affiliation they must have some key feature that aligns with CGSA’s main goals. As of this semester the CGSA has six clubs: PERIOD., Students for Reproductive Freedom, Students for Justice in Palestine, Active Minds, Transgender Listening Circle, and the Young Democratic Socialists of America. Everyone in these clubs has the opportunity to collaborate with one other, and it really allows for a gigantic and welcoming  community. 

SAFE SPACE

Above all else, CGSA is truly a safe space for all students. It strives to be a place for students to feel comfortable being themselves, and have the opportunity for their expression and identity to be celebrated. This is the primary goal of CGSA, and it is heavily portrayed through its actions and messaging. 

ADVOCACY 

Since it is in the name, CGSA does have a focus on activism as well. On the walls of the main room there are multiple protest posters, the club itself attends protests and rallies that aligns with its values, and debate and discourse about ongoing issues is welcomed. However, the club still manages to keep the actual space very safe, and oftentimes has to hold sensitive conversations or events outside of the physical area of CGSA. 

Overall, CGSA is a very multifaceted club, and is a great community to be a part of. I have never met such a welcoming and friendly group of people before becoming involved in CGSA. To become involved students can volunteer, apply for an e-board position, or even be part of one of their many subcommittees! The options are endless in the CGSA, and I would highly recommend checking out the club, or at least the space, during your time here at Boston University.

Favorite Study Spots on Campus

Hannah Martin (CAS'25)

Throughout my first year at BU, I have discovered quite a few spots on campus. Since it is such a large university, there are tons of places available for study needs. Whether you need to collaborate, a silent study room, or an area with white noise, there is definitely a spot on campus that will work for you. In this blog post, I’m going to share my favorite spots to study, and give a little reasoning for why they work so well for me.

1. Questrom Starbucks

Questrom! The building itself is a wonder to look at, and there are a multitude of spaces to finally finish that essay you have been putting off for weeks. I am quite literally sitting at a booth inside Questrom as I write this blog post. Some honorable Questrom mentions include the Pardee Library, and the common room found upon the entrance of the building. However, Questrom Starbucks produces productivity out of me which I have never seen before! I somehow manage to complete all of my work in just one sitting at a comfortable corner booth. Perhaps it's the caffeine readily supplied for me from my Grubhub app, but I like to blame it on the atmosphere itself.

2. BU Beach

Okay, so maybe this is a very basic place to put in a top five list, but it's basic for a reason! Everyone loves BU Beach on a warm, sunny Boston day. I like to go here with a few friends, pick up lunch from the George Sherman Union, and catch up on readings at a picnic table. The location is pretty central, so it's easy to stop by in between classes as well. I like to study outside, which I know can be difficult for some, but this is the perfect place for me to be productive while still getting some time outside.

3. Kilachand 9th Floor

As a KHC freshman living in the Kilachand Hall, this is the most accessible study spot on campus for me. The ninth floor in Kilachand Hall contains two rooms of different studying atmospheres. There is a silent room, which is where I go if I have an exam to prepare for, and there are also collaborative spaces that I utilize for group projects with other students. There is a beautiful view of the Boston skyline, which is an immaculate aspect of the location. There is also a common room on the first floor of KIlachand Hall, which is nice for collaborative projects or discussions.

4. CGSA

Found in the basement of the George Sherman Union, this one’s hidden! The Center of Gender, Sexuality, and Activism is a great place to take a break from the chaotic city of Boston to get some studying done. It is an inclusive and welcoming space, and perfect for anyone! I like to start on bigger assignments here, as usually there are only a few people, and I can easily focus. The CGSA is also home to many different clubs on campus, and available for students to just take a break during the day, or hang out with some friends!

5. Yawkey Center

The Yawkey Center is my final favorite place to study. It has such an open atmosphere perfect for any type of studying. There are beautiful views of the city, the CAS writing program to assist you in any written work, and the CAS and pre-professional advising offices. In addition to all of these resources, the best dining hall on campus, Marciano Commons, is on the first floor! I like working on all of the floors in the Yawkey Center. However, I definitely favor eating breakfast at Marcianos and doing my work early in the morning to have the whole dining hall to myself and only a few others.

Throughout campus there are tons of spots to study, or just hang out! These are just a few of my favorites, and I think they deserve a bit of hype.