NYU has hundreds of student clubs, which means there’s a place for every student to find like-minded classmates. In this edition of Club Spotlight, we caught up with CampGrrl. Here, we ask about how their mission to create a space for queer women on campus is going strong—and continues to evolve.
“The world is severely lacking in spaces designed by and for queer women,” says Sarah Rosenwald, president of CampGrrl. That’s why CampGrrl, which is housed in NYU’s LGBTQ+ Center, exists for queer women and nonbinary folks on campus. “We provide a safe, comfortable environment for folks to hang out in and make friends.”
A History of Open Discussion and Community
CampGrrl was created 15 years ago by student request. Ever since, it has been a platform for queer women and nonbinary people to have fun, support each other, and speak honestly about their experiences. The club frequently hosts on-campus discussions, providing students with the chance to learn from one another. Discussion topics often include queer representation, the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality, and queer labels. They also host craft nights—some meetings are just for coloring sessions and pumpkin decorating.
But the members of CampGrrl don’t limit themselves to on-campus activities. In a place as large and historic as New York City, that wouldn’t make sense! Instead, they make it a point to take advantage of the tremendous resources the city has to offer young queer people. Trips to check out LGBTQ+ museums and historical events happen frequently. And, once a semester, they head to Bluestockings Bookstore. This community-owned-and-run bookstore and activist space is a fixture of the Lower East Side. “Our visits always encourage members to become volunteers, so we hope our trips there are mutually beneficial,” says Sarah. “It’s a really cool space that we love being able to support.”
Collaborating for Solidarity and Inclusion
Collaborating with the vibrant network of NYU LGBTQ+ organizations is also a top priority. During Trans Awareness Week 2018, CampGrrl cosponsored a panel about the experiences of trans women with the Women of Excellence, Strength, and Tenacity (WEST). And this year, after the Trans Day of Remembrance Vigil, CampGrrl opened their doors to all queer people and allies who attended. They not only provided dinner but also a place to decompress for anyone who needed it. This spring, they’ve collaborated with the Feminist Society, the Students for Sexual Respect, and Voices for Planned Parenthood to promote sexual assault awareness. CampGrrl also, along with the entire LGBTQ+ Center, cohosts the spring Queer Prom.
A Place for Friendship and Support
For incoming queer women, nonbinary students, and their allies, Sarah boils down CampGrrl’s mission to one sentence: “We’re here to support you!” She adds, “The whole student board has had pretty varied experiences with our queer identities. We’re always happy to talk to incoming and current students about how difficult, fun, terrifying, and wonderful it can be.”