Gender equity advocacy gets a voice in campus podcast. Meet the two students behind it and how they got started.

Thursday, April 1, 2021 Gender equity advocacy gets a voice in campus podcast. Meet the two students behind it and how they got started.

Lizzy Lavin gestures with her hands while recording an episode of the podcast "What You Missed At The Women's Center" with co-host Syrah Andrews. [photo by Mike Jackson | Student Affairs]

by Kirsten Wandrey  |  Student Affairs

"That's What You Missed at the Women's Center" is a podcast all about gender equity and becoming an advocate within the local community. Topics are focused on aspects of intersectionality and the different ways gender issues can affect all groups of people. The podcast drives home the Women's Center's message about inclusivity and pursuing social justice at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Just as essential as the podcast's content, though, are the people running it. Women's Center student employees Syrah Andrews and Lizzy Lavin are cohosts who have been involved with the podcast since they first discovered the initial idea.

Andrews and Lavin came up with the idea for a podcast while they were talking about current events during work, and the pair decided it would be beneficial for the university to have a podcast generating conversation about what's going on in the Lincoln community.

Lavin pitched the idea to the Women's Center advisors, and once the podcast was approved the second host position was open to any other employee in the center. Since Andrews and Lavin have similar schedules and were both involved in the initial idea, Andrews agreed to come onboard as the other co-host.

"It worked out very naturally for us to co-host together. We have great conversations in the office and thought it would carry over well to the podcast realm," said Andrews.

Episodes are released biweekly on Fridays, and range from 10 to 15 minutes long. So far, four episodes have been released: Sexual Health During a Pandemic; Supporting Women of Color in Academic Spaces; Being an Activist in Nebraska; and Strong Women in RSO Leadership. Listeners can access all episodes on Spotify.

Whenever their schedules align, Andrews and Lavin meet to record that week's podcast. Once they finish their conversations and analysis, the Women's Center's assistant director Stephanie Alderson listens through for pieces to cut or change to produce the episode's length and clarity. Stephanie's husband, John, then edits together the final product. The entire editing process takes anywhere from one to four hours.

"It has been such an interesting project to oversee, and I’m glad we were able to make it happen," said Alderson, "I think that it’s really important for us to reach students in innovative ways that are relevant and will catch their attention."

The tone of each episode can be described as conversational yet informative, as Andrews and Lavin talk like old friends and open up an inclusive dialogue while encouraging listeners to form their own opinions.

One goal of the podcast is to allow another avenue for developing knowledge on gender equity and advocacy. Not everyone can make it to each event put on by the Women's Center, but everyone can listen to a short podcast on their own time.

"Our episodes are something you could listen to while walking to class. Even though we target the campus community, it is created so anyone can glean information from it," said Lavin.

Andrews, a junior Secondary Math Education major from Omaha, loves doing the podcast because it sparks conversation about intersectional feminism and encourages others to practice everyday activism.

"My passion for gender equity stems from my upbringing, as my mom is a very powerful woman and she taught me to challenge gender roles," said Andrews, "My passion for social justice stems from my involvement in forensics in high school, when I was opened up to so many of the issues our world faces."

In addition to hosting the podcast, Andrews enjoys spending time outdoors and has a wide range of hobbies, including playing guitar, knitting, and painting.

Lavin's overall goal for the podcast is to form a tight-knit sense of community among listeners.

"We want to have these conversations with our community because activism can happen here too. We hope to spread information that can help someone be an activist in their local communities," said Lavin.

Lavin is a junior English and Women's and Gender Studies major from Lincoln. In her free time, she loves to bake, spend time with her cat, go on walks and hang out at the Women's Center.

The next episode is about DACA and Dreamers in Nebraska, slated for release on April 9, 2021.

Together, the pair hopes to create conversation within the UNL community on women's issues, and encourage listeners to advocate for gender equity in all aspects of society. The podcast is intended to call upon listeners to confront the truth of our world and how it fails to include everyone in the community. Andrews and Lavin value intersectionality at all times, and as they create a digital space where people of all identities are considered, they stay true to one of their main points: no one fights alone.

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