Sarah Ortega: Passionate Feminist and FORGE President

Her Campus (HC):  Tell us a little about yourself!  

Sarah Ortega (SO):  I am from Fort Collins, Colorado but I have lived all over the country in Washington, Missouri and Minnesota as well. I am a junior studying Public Administration and Political Science with a minor in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality studies. I love music, makeup and dogs. After I graduate I want to attend the University of Minnesota for their gender studies graduate program.


HC:  What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

SO:  Passionate, bold, and determined.


HC:  What inspired you to join FORGE?

SO:  I have considered myself a feminist for as long as I can remember. My own personal experience of domestic violence and sexual assault has definitely inspired me to use my voice on campus and in the community to ultimately change the culture. FORGE is a great way to get involved on campus and there is power in numbers, so having a group of people all fighting for the same rights and equality creates a larger impact.  

HC: When did you join FORGE? And how did you become president?

SO:  I joined FORGE this semester because the previous meeting times conflicted with classes. I was appointed president by Tamara Berg, director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the club’s faculty advisor.


HC:  What is FORGE all about?  What types of things do you guys do?

SO:  FORGE, Fighting for Our Rights and Gender Equality, is a feminist club dedicated to the liberation of marginalized groups. We put together campus events that create awareness and advocate for women’s rights and social equality. FORGE is a safe space for speaking out against gender issues on campus and we act as a leadership group for the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

This semester we have put on a counter protest to a pro-life group, hosted a viewing of the documentary “Embrace,” made buttons and zines, and discussed issues on our campus that we believe need attention, for example the lack of street lights around campus, trans visibility, the indigenous learning garden, and how the university handles sexual assault. The next big event FORGE will be hosting is the showing of the documentary Audrie and Daisy, a film about three cases of rape and how the victims and their families were subjected to abuse and cyberbullying. The viewing will be on November 7 in Somsen Auditorium at 7 p.m., and it is free and open to the public!


HC:  How can people join FORGE?

SO:  Everybody is welcome to join; all you have to do is show up! Feminism is for everybody. We meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Minne 110. We have a facebook page that is updated with news and events:

HC:  What other things are you involved in on campus?

SO:  I play lead alto in the Jazz Ensemble; I have been a part of the band since freshman year. I recently became involved with the Winona County Primary Prevention Project, a project that aims at preventing sexual and domestic violence by sharing information, changing attitudes and the accepted norms of behavior in Winona County so that any sexual and domestic violence or abuse involved in human relationships does not happen and the community is safer for everyone.

Check out Sarah Ortega and Winona State’s FORGE club on Facebook!