GITA: A College Program That Helps Students in Need

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Metropolitan State University (MSU) is located in Denver Colorado. We spoke with Kat Martinez from MSU. She is the head of the “Gender Institution and Advocacy” (GITA) located on campus. As a program and department, GITA has been around for over 30 years. 

We took a tour around the space that GITA is located. Kat Martinez  “The Gender Institute, this space that you’re in, is pretty new for us…So we have a reference library here, with all of our books which are in relation to feminism and social justice and the library is called the Wetzel Toll library after two of our founding members of the institute, Meridith Wetzel and Tara Toll, who moved on to being a chair in social services, or human services.” The building that the department was very minimalistic and simple. As you look around you can find a plethora of magazines that could educate students on multiple topics relating to social works.

Photo Credit: Margaux Hartgrove

 One of the very interesting parts about this building, is that they had “wellness rooms”. Located inside these rooms are; breast pumps for lactating mothers, couches, a fridge and ultimately, a calm and quiet space.”These wellness rooms are actually very important for the campus community…It’s a pretty quiet room, and it is quite relaxing… This is called a wellness room, because we want to focus very heavily, as part of the social justice aspect, on people’s wellness” said Martinez. She also spoke about the different uses of the wellness rooms. Kat Martinez said “Sometimes people come in here to meditate” She also described that lactating students could breastfeed or pump inside of these rooms, and in some cases, students would go into these rooms just to think or speak with peers about personal problems.

The entire objective of this program is to help students that are being discriminated against, or experiencing “micro aggressions”. This program has done so much to help those attending the University, as well as the people that are in need of help.