Women of CMU 5. Autumn Gairaud

CMU student Autumn Gairaud poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Sunday, March 19, 2017. “I would define a feminist as someone that believes in and advocates for equal opportunity for all people, especially women…,” states Autumn. 


Autumn Gairaud is a woman of many talents here at Central Michigan University. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Autumn on Sunday night to learn about her and her involvements on campus. Autumn is a member and the recruitment coordinator of Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates (S.A.P.A), an intern for the office of LGBTQ, is an activist with Central Michigan Action where she is the gender and sexuality campaign director, she is a member of Students Advocating Gender Equality (S.A.G.E.) where she is their “zine” editor, and  she is a member of College Democrats.

These are some of the most impactful organizations to be part of on out campus. First off, if you do not know, SAPA is an anonymous help-line to support students facing/dealing with sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, etc. SAGE is an organization that works to better gender equality, especially with the LBGTQ community. With this organization Autumn helped coordinate and facilitate a town hall on campus about the Gender and Sexuality Center campaign for the CMU and Mount Pleasant area. This event not only got campus new coverage, but local coverage as well, making a huge impact on our community.

“Throughout the semester I have done a lot of advocacy for that (Gender and Sexuality Center). So meeting with President Ross, met with him a few times, and helped put on the town hall. As well, Central Michigan Action has done a few protests and rallies throughout last semester and this semester on campus, both for the GSC and other stuff on campus,” explains Autumn.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and consistently fight for your views and values. Autumn does this with every single organization she is apart of, as well as in her daily life. When first coming to CMU Autumn met people in her Residential Hall who were involved in some activism on campus. In addition, Autumn is studying Political Science and wants to change the world and make changes in her community.

“I think it was just advocating for women and marginalized groups, like the LGBTQ community, was something I am really passionate about…I am a really firm believer that whatever side of the aisle, whatever your political policy is, getting more women elected into office, getting more LGBTQ people elected into office, and people of color is really important, because I think representation is important,” Autumn states.

There is a lot we can do for our community and Autumn has become a recognizable face for the issues she supports and fights for. Autumn is a self-defined feminist and for me that is the most powerful thing you can define yourself as. She fits into the 5-pillars of feminism (defined my me): dignity, self-responsbilty, empowerment, acting in kindness, and using one’s voice for positive impact. Thank you Autumn for all that you do, it was amazing meeting you, and you are truly and inspiration.

“I think that we celebrate women of the past because I think it is important to remember women have changed the world and I think it is important to remind each other of empowered women now because when are still changing the world and still making waves and organization things, like the Women’s March. I think when we look at things as just history it means that that’s been done and we forget to focus on the awesome things that are being done now. I think when we see that there are other empowered women making things happen, whether it is on our own campus, or in the state, or country, it can kind of re-engerize us when things seem impossible or tough…being reminded that there are other empowered women pushing through to what we have and still trying to make things better, I just think that can re-inspire and re-empower you that it is worth it to get up the next day and keep fighting for those things,” Autumn states.

Great work Autumn, keep doing you!

Women of CMU 4. Taylor Brown

West Bloomfield, junior Taylor Brown poses for a portrait in her room in Woldt Hall on the campus of Central Michigan University, Friday, March 17, 2017. “(A feminist is) someone who is just pro-woman, just pro-rights. I did a bulletin board on the Women’s March on Washington and a lot of people don’t know that the Women’s March actually advocates for a lot of different issues, not just women’s rights. An empowered woman is being empowered in all areas. I think a lot of times people think to be pro something you have to be anti something else, which isn’t true. So being a feminist and an empowered woman is empowering all groups or all people who have been oppressed or discriminated against…Being pro-feminist or pro-woman means being empowered in yourself to empower others through your actions, your speaking, though just what you are doing,” Taylor explains.

Taylor Brown is our fourth #WomenofCMU.

Taylor is a Junior from West Bloomfield, MI, who is involved in a wide range of organizations on Central Michigan’s Campus. Taylor is a Multicultural Advisor in Woldt Hall. She is Vice President for Minority of Medical Students. She volunteers with Geer-Up; an organization that helps in-city students prepare for secondary education through the CMU Central of Inclusion and Diversity. She is a Leadership Advancement Scholar, a Multicultural Academic Scholar, and a college volunteer facilitator corps member. Lastly, Taylor is a bible study leader through Intervarsity with Black Campus Ministry; providing a safe space for black students on campus to explore their religion no matter where they fall on the spectrum.

This is so much on one person’s plate and Taylor handles it all with grace, making her a perfect fit for #WomenofCMU. Taylor was active in her high school community and continues to be a part of something bigger than just her to her experiences here at CMU.

“I think first coming in as a CMU student, I was involved in high school, but then I was kinda trying to re-establish myself as I came to college. First gaining the relationships here, I literally met my best friends from my freshman year roommates…meeting people who love you unconditionally and are there for you for those late night chats. As well as opportunities to see different communities and passions of people I nescessarily were exposed to but didnt dive into…Also being able to be an advocate and learning how to better be an ally for different situations or circumstances. Just educating myself on different issues and to be able to edcuate other people as well as coming back to my job as a Multicultural Advisor…(this leads too) my imapct on campus is to be that friend, that mentor, that sister, that person to look up to,” Taylor explains.

Taylor does openly define herself as an empowered woman and a feminist. She explains that feminsim, like any support of something is not hating the other, it is understanding both. With all that is occurring this today’s world it is hard to idenitfy with these terms proudly, espeically as a woman in a minority group.

“Growing a lot of miniorities will tell you that you have to work twice as hard as your counterpartners. That is just soemthing that kinda gets instilled in you, espeically in my household growing up because I grew up in a pridominantly white area my entire life…Just because you are a miniority doesn’t mean your expereinces are universial, we all experience different things and other peoples transitions (to CMU campus) might not have been as easy as mine because of what I grew up with. So being able to see being African American on a pridominantly white campus, especially white, christian campus (even though CMU is not presented in that way), I think it is jsut something that you have to be proud of who you are because that next person will be looking at you and saying if they can do it, I can do it too,” Taylor states .

It is important to recognize women who are different than us, but more importantly women who are impacting people around us, even those different than us. I think Taylor is a prime example of a woman on campus who is strong in her faith, her identity and her knowledge to help empower and educate others around her everday. Yet again, another amazing woman who fits with my five pillars of feminism, as stated in my previous posts. It is not hard to fine women who want to make a difference but you need to find women who strive to do more than just that.

Continue to leave your stamp on this campus Taylor, we are so proud to call you a Chippewa. Fire Up.

Women of CMU 3. Maggie Lenard

Dorr sophomore, Maggie Lenard poses for a portrait in the Fabiano/Emmons/Woldt lobby on the campus of Central Michigan University, Thursday March 16, 2017. “(An empowered woman is) somebody who is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, stand up for people who don’t feel like that can stand up for themselves. Being empowered is somebody who doesn’t really worry about what other people have to say, they stand strong in their convictions and they do what they know is right,” Maggie informs. 


Meet Maggie Lenard. Maggie is a sophomore at Central Michigan University from Dorr, Michigan who is making her impact as a political activist on campus.

Maggie is the President of the CMU chapter of Turning Point USA, which advocates for limited government and free speech, she is also a member of Civil Discourse Society and College Republicans. Maggie focuses her impact on helping others expand their political views, gain a unique standpoint on situations you would not have thought to look at, and broaden perspectives.

“A lot of people my age now or on college campuses are becoming more exposed to things, like the 2016 election. Not understanding why things are happening and how things work.I am really interested in politics, but I am also not a confrontational person, so I don’t enjoy arguing with other people, but I do enjoy learning from other people and offering my insight to help them…I think have made a real difference in bring people’s attention to things that are happening around the world, like issues we have here when it comes to women and feminism, or things around the world like with Syria. I think I have made a pretty positive impact on my friends making them become more politically informed,” states Maggie.

Maggie has also participated in a few marches on campus and politically related conferences. One of the activist movements on campus that Maggie took part in was tthe rally against the “Muslim Ban”.

Maggie informa, “my role there was not necessarily to protest the government but to show people, our peers, our friends, our Muslim-American fellow students that we stand with them. That they have a place here and belong here just as much as anyone else.”

Maggie does not inflict her views onto other, but focuses her efforts to educate her peers. She has dealt with backlash as a politically informed woman. People can tend to look at collegiate women as though they are little girls or not as knowledgable about certain topics, this can be a challenge for women to feel comfortable voicing their opinions and growing as leaders in our society.  She has had classmates sort of talk down to her after countering their position. Maggie amazingly shows growth from these situations and allows them to motivate her to show people that she is just as serious as her male peers.

Maggie fits with my defined pillars of feminism: dignity, self-responsbilty, empowerment, acting in kindness, and using one’s voice for good. She has a passion for politics and uses this passion to empower others, use her voice to educate and show dignity, plus integrity, when it comes to holding her beliefs, but not shaming others for theirs. Maggie carries herself in a manner that makes you know she is a strong, outspoken woman. I did not know Maggie before our little interview, I only knew of her, but I was able to witness from afar the impact she is having and going to continue to have on our campus community.

“I guess it kind of goes back to being a person that people can come to talk to about things maybe they don’t understand. Like I said, people out age kind of tend to be worried about looking stupid or looking like they don’t understand certain things. I feel like I have made myself available to my peers and people that know me. I am here to help you understand thing and if I don’t understand things I’ll let you know and we work through it together. I want people to feel like that they can come to me for anything, especially anything political…So, I guess my stamp (on this campus) would be being a woman who’s interested and passionate about politics and there for anyone who would like more informed,” Maggie explains.

Thank you Maggie for being one of the woman positively impacting this campus. Continue your work in the political realm and we cannot wait to see all the great things you have yet to accomplish while here at CMU.

Women of CMU 2. Ahsha Davis

Today is day two of Women of CMU! I would like to introduce you all to Detroit, junior Ahsha Davis.

Detroit, junior Ahsha Davis poses for a portrait in the Saxe/Herrig/Celani lobby on the campus of Central Michigan University, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. “I think that feminists and empowered women are women who understand the purpose of them being on this planet or the purpose of themselves in life. They know they have rights. They know they are important to this society. That they stand up for themselves. I think they are leaders all over the world. People who make sure others feel welcome and feel nurtured because that is what women do, they empower us….It is about standing up for yourself and letting the world know you are here, making your mark,” Ahsha informs. 

Ahsha involved in many aspects of Central Michigan’s campus. She is a Multicultural Advisor (MA) for Herrig Hall, she is actively involved in residential life activities (mock rocks), she is a member of the Justice League, a Hip Hop RSO on campus, she is a large student activist, a desk associate, and she writes and performs poetry with Word Hammer at CMU.

“When I first got here I decided to join organizations, so I joined Hall Council, tried to learn what is going on in resident halls. Then I applied to be a desk worker just to have a smiling face as soon as people walked in from their day of a bunch of exams or a stressful time. I want to be that face that they see and says ‘Hello how are you’ and they are like really happy…I definitely made my mark (as an MA) by teaching and educating people about diversity and helping them learn who they are, finding themselves in college…” Ahsha states.

Ahsha has also been involved in many rallies, protests, and activist events on campus for all sorts of issues including Black Lives Matter, the Travel Ban, women’s issues, and other problems facing our campus student community. She always uses her voice to empower people to be active members of their community and continues to support causes that directly and indirectly affect her.

“Being out there, screaming and chanting, being around a bunch of people who feel the same way as you do about a certain topic. It motivates me to do better as a woman. My favorite protest of all times was the Black Lives Matter protest that the Justice League put on and it was in the heat of the moment because events were happening and we decided we were going to say something. That motivated me as a person, Ahsha you need to stand up for yourself, you know shout about what you believe in, and you need to make sure that you take control of your life and you put out there what you think people should know about you as a person…they (protests) make me make sure that I take time to appreciate what I do have and think about what others do not have. So being an advocate for everyone is important. ” Ahsha explains.

I could not have put this into better words. Ahsha shows my defined pillars of feminism: dignity, self-responsibility, empowerment, acting in kindness and using one’s voice for good. Not only through her protests but as an MA and with her poetry, Ahsha introduces friends, peers, strangers, etc. into her mind and what she values as important aspects of life. Ahsha stands up to injustice and she educated about privilege and identity. She impacts her residents, her friends, her peers and those who have the opportunity to sit down and discuss with her about worldly topics. Feminism is not an angry act, there are ways to show empowerment and feminism like Ahsha does, with grace and subtlety. It is important to recognize people in your life who are making a difference in others and putting their stamp on the world.

“I think it starts with understanding that you are a human and that your life is valuable. I think with everything that is going on women are portrayed as not valuable, not of importance, just people who need to stay at home and cook…but that is not what we need to do. There are so many women out there who have invented things, have been the Presidents of Universities, have run different organizations and I feel that it is important that we stay empowered because we don’t need to give up, we need to continue to move forward…The one thing I always told myself is I will never be another statistic,” Ahsha states.

Thank you Ahsha for impacting those around you on this campus and for being an empowered woman. You stand by the values of CMU: wisdom, virtue, and friendship. Continue to embody these every day and continue to leave your stamp on this world.

Ahsha Davis laughs during a photoshoot on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Women of CMU 1. Hadley Platek

Hello readers, I have an internship will Hillel @ CMU as the Jewish Women’s Foundation INSPIRE Intern. With this position we get this amazing opportunity to hold our own mini social media campaign on any women related topic of our choosing. As a proud feminist and empowered jewish woman who strives to make a difference in her community, I wanted to do my own version of People of New York. This is Women of CMU, for 10 days I will post a mini article and a photograph (taken by yours truly) about a woman on Central Michigan University’s campus who is making some sort of impact or her stamp on this world. I want to showcase women who are our friends, peers, neighbors, and co-workers that embody women empowerment and a passion for achieving good in life. So now that I have given you the background knowledge of this post and the nine more to come, I would like to introduce you to my first empowered woman of CMU.

1. Hadley Platek

Senior, Hadley Platek poses for a portrait after a Hillel @ CMU E-Board meeting in the Down Under Food Court on the campus of Central Michigan University, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. ” To me being an empowered woman means being happy with yourself as well as embracing independence even if you like to be around people, but being comfortable with yourself too. I believe that feminism is really important to furthering strong women.”


Hadley is a senior at Central Michigan University who is actively involved in her collegiate communities. Hadley is the 2016-2017 Engagement Intern and President of Hillel @ CMU and an active member of Delta Phi Epsilon. Hadley has become the face for Hillel @ CMU after an incident where an Antisemtic valentine was handed out on campus a month ago. Hadley reached out to CMU’s campus to help organize a forum on free speech, religion and other diversity matters for this April to help build more awareness and inclusivity to our campus.

“To be Jewish on CMU’s campus is definitely an interesting experience, however I think it has been a really good one. Even though not many people know about Hillel as well as about Judaism, it is a really neat opportunity to educate. I feel like our community wants to learn more,” said Hadley.

Building a Jewish community is about building connections and growing together in our identity. Hadley strives to make this a prominent role of Hillel @ CMU and for it’s members to just bond together. Hadley embodies, whether she knows it or not, meets with what I identify as (after lots of research) some of pillars of feminism: dignity, self-responsbilty, empowerment, acting in kindness, and using one’s voice. Hadley carries herself in a manner that people look up to and her has such a passion for what she does with Hillel and in her everyday life. She has made an impact on those in our community and will continue to do so in the future.

“I think it is important to recognize powerful and impactful women because they are the ones who pave the way for the rest of us to have that opportunity to be impactful. I don’t fully know what my stamp is on the world yet, however I’d like to think it has to do with being involved with things I am passionate about. The best way for me to put my stamp on the world right now is, I guess, giving my all to the things I am passionate about and putting everything I can into it to help these communities I am part of, including being a woman and being Jewish at CMU,” Hadley explains.

Thank you Hadley for being role model and for embracing your identity. You are a true woman of CMU.


Finding Their Story With Coffee – Feature of Narrativality Roasters/Coffee Room

Finding Their Story With Coffee from Alison Zywicki on Vimeo.


The Coffee Room and Narrativality Coffee Roasters has been around for about a year and a half, starting in August of 2015. Since then they have opened their doors to the community and encouraged clients to find their story. Their slogan is “Coffee has a story. Find your story,” based on the fact that coffee has as a story about how it is processed and it is important to share that history.

Christie Cromar is the co-owner with her husband Aaron. Together with their love of coffee brought the “third-wave coffee roasters movement”, people who value the story and authenticity of coffee, to Mount Pleasant.

Their website states that “coffee has a story with a beginning, middle, and end. We reclaim that story by honoring our connection with the farmers that grow our coffee, and by caring deeply about every aspect of the story from seed to cup.”

“Coffee are these beans that just somehow just work their way into everybody’s lives,” barista Alyssa Morley explains.

There is so much more to a coffee shop then the coffee, there is the people and the story behind it. The video about talks about the basis of the Coffee Room’s ideology and what their take on coffee’s story is, highlighting this business and the owners that are the heart of it.

Video Shootout JRN 423

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/203490401″>Welcome To Res Life-Video Shootout</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user59466187″>Alison Zywicki</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

In class on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, we did what our professor calls a Video Shootout. We have 3 hours to produce/film and edit a 30 second to a minute video on a topic we pulled out of a hat just seconds before. I felt SOOO lucky because I pulled out “Dorm Life” and I am an RA on campus. I was like this is amazing. I was not allowed to use my own hall, so I called other RAs that I knew and had them introduce me to a resident that would be willing to be interviewed and filmed for my timed project. I got some great footage and great audio bites. I was really pleased with how I did on this project since we had not preparation before hand. I totally learned how to swim from this.

My biggest issue was my editing process. I did not have a hard-drive, only a flash-drive so it made editing a little difficult and slower. Also, after I saved everything correctly and exported my file at the right size when I uploaded it to Vimeo it has a really bad quality to it, so before next Wednesday, I will relook at my file and try to upload a new video. This is a real issue that can occur and the best advice I can give is do not panic, just make sure all you saved an Adobe premiere project file so you can go back and edit and re-export the file.

Enjoy my very first video.