The UGE is a trans-positive and anti-racist feminist organization at McGill that is entirely volunteer run! Anyone can get involved by becoming a staffer or joining the organizing collective.
The UGE is a resource centre and drop-in space that offers an alternative lending library, a zine distro, and a co-op selling at-cost ecologically-responsible menstrual products, safer sex supplies, and gender empowerment items (all for pay-what-you-can). We also have a lounge that is a safe(r) space for people of all genders, and is equipped with trans- and women-specific health and counseling materials and referral services, a free phone line, a microwave, a kettle, couches, and lots of tea! All UGE services are open to everyone!
The UGE holds an intersectional approach to feminism and gender issues. As an organization, we strive to recognize and be accountable to the ways that racism and white supremacy, ableism, classism, transmisogyny, and their intersections affect our communities, and endeavour to fight these through education and advocacy. However, we also recognize the history, and in many ways continued existence, of the UGE as a primarily white organization based at and benefiting from the privileged institution of McGill.
All new volunteers must participate in UGE Staffer Training in order to volunteer. We organize trainings every fall and winter at the beginning of the term, so keep an eye out for information on our Facebook page and listserv!
We recognize the unique contributions of individuals from oppressed and marginalized communities, especially those typically under-represented in campus based gender organizing. We welcome the involvement and criticisms brought by individuals with diverse experiences, and specifically encourage folks from such backgrounds to get involved in the UGE.
(A) Get Involved As A Staffer!
Staffers keep our space open and help anyone who comes in to access our services – this means helping people find and check out books from our library, purchase items from the co-op, or welcome people to the space. Staffers may also work on projects on a voluntary basis, which frequently includes library cataloging, updating referral resources, and other projects that keep the UGE running smoothly.
In addition, staffers can contribute to decision making process and direction of the UGE through committees! Our current committees include: Events and Programming, Co-Op, Outreach and Publicity, Finance, and Library and Zine Distro.
Being a UGE Staffer is a commitment of 2 – 4 hours per week, spent in the UGE between Mon and Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. Scheduling is flexible.
(B) Join the Organizing Collective!
The Collective is the decision making body that keeps the UGE running on a day to day basis, and is responsible for maintaining financial records and budgets, training and responding to the needs of Staffers, maintaining and developing services (the library, co-op, info referral, etc), running workshops and events, and more! The Collective runs on a consensus based decision making model. As a Collective we are committed to sharing skills, knowledge, responsibilities, and experiences to learn as individuals and build a better UGE – any ideas that you have are welcome!
As a services of the Student’s Society of McGill University, our finances and space are administered by the SSMU and we are held to the by laws and policies of the SSMU, and therefore we spend a portion of our energy working with that organization and engaging with current campus politics.
– participation in meetings once every two weeks
– participation in a committee
– intention to stay on the collective for at least a 4 month period
– weekly staffing hours in the UGE (between Monday and Friday, 10 am to 5 pm)
The Collective is currently working to renovate the office, as well as to develop a new image/branding for the organization. We’re also managing the Summer Stipend Projects, whose results will be posted on our website as each project wraps up. In the fall of 2017, we hope to host lots of events, network with other organizations, and keep providing the essential services we offer. The UGE is currently in a period of growth and development both on campus at McGill and in the Community.