The Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy (GITA) has a center at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. We spoke to Kat Martinez, the head of GITA, about what GITA does to help students on and off campus. The institute is open to any person, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or religion.
The center on the campus is relatively new, but GITA has been around for about 30 years. There was a push to start a department of gender studies by a feminist activist, Meredith Wetzel, who wanted to teach people about the importance of feminism not just on campus, or in Denver, but across the world. A reference library in the center, called the Wetzel-Toll Library was named after two founders of GITA Meredith Wetzel and Tara Toll. The library includes books related to social justice, feminism, human rights, and gender equality.
Another resource available for students is a free snack-food pantry. Martinez told us that any student can grab a free snack, use a
microwave to prepare it, or even store it in the fridge. She told us that the pantry is “part of the process that [they] think is important for food justice,” and that the pantry provides food to people in need as a part of food justice. Martinez continues, “And that’s really what [they] focus on with social justice, thinking about the resources that people need and helping them to gain those resources.” She also explained how she has experienced people who were hungry, who were not students, coming to her, looking for food. GITA graciously accepted these people and offered them snacks and a place to relax. GITA’s facilities also have meditative-type rooms which help students have a place to go if they had a rough day.
Picture credits to Margaux Hartgrove