A Space For Change
At large universities, students are often unsure of how to get involved on campus. Whether it’s academic clubs, sports, or politics, sometimes the sheer number of opportunities on campus can be overwhelming and, at the same time, underwhelming.
“My peers and I were really looking for a space to organize around social justice issues on campus, and there wasn’t really a space where we thought we could do that, so we made our own group,” says Sonia Neculescu, a senior majoring in political science.
In her freshman year, Neculescu founded Women for Political Change (WFPC). WFPC is a group that seeks to motivate others through political action. It’s a space that encourages members to use their voice not only for politics but for anything that they believe in.
Although the group is called Women for Political Change and is a classified as a student group, members don’t have to be women, or students, or align with a certain political group or party. WFPC works to set up members with campaigns, issue-based work, and other opportunities outside of the group to further fuel their activism on the issues they believe in. As Neculescu puts it, “The mission of our group is to give folks the tools and opportunities to participate and become active in the community.”
Neculescu, who has been an active voice for social justice on campus during her time at the U, is currently the campaign manager for Representative Ilhan Omar’s re-election campaign in the fall. Additionally, she has worked on other progressive campaigns in the past such as Terri Bonoff’s congressional campaign and the recent campaign of Raymond Dehn for Minneapolis mayor, where she and her fellow organizers were able to increase voter turnout on campus by 12.34%. She discovered her passion for organizing when she came to the U, and she has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
“I know that I want to do activism work for the rest of my life,” Neculescu says. “WFPC has really given me an environment and an infrastructure to do activism on campus, and it’s formed a sense of community at the U of M.”
Growing the Community
As WFPC has seen its recognition rise over the past three years, events have ramped up as well. Events put on by WFPC have ranged from a Feminism Beyond Gender campaign in March, celebrating the importance of International Women's Day, to Femme Jam, a house show showcasing femme and women artists that raised money for important causes. Throughout the year they host guest speakers and lecturers, all through an intersectional lens.
WFPC as a group started out fairly small in its first year but has since grown to over 100 active members in its three-year existence. The group’s success has allowed it to become a nonprofit starting in the fall, a huge step for what was once just a few members. Additionally, a new chapter of WFPC is going to start at Augsburg this semester, with the group hoping to expand even more in schools all across Minneapolis.
Neculescu says, “WFPC has been a really great space for folks to get involved and just become aware of their own power, and how they can make a difference in their communities.”