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Students, professors work to bolster anti-Trump Women’s March on Washington

Planned Parenthood and Code Pink are not the only ones helping to advance a large-scale protest against Donald Trump slated for the day after he is inaugurated — many progressive professors and college students are also doing their part for the cause.

Distraught over the prospect of a President Trump and what they contend are signs of backward steps for women in America, they are working to galvanize support and attendance at the upcoming Women’s March on Washington D.C. on Jan. 21 and its “sister” marches planned for throughout the country.

They’re organizing and sponsoring bus trips, fundraising, posting about the march on Facebook pages and more.

While organizers are quick to claim the protest is more pro-women than anti-Donald Trump, it was organized in the wake of his election as president and is set for the day after his inauguration to counterbalance the rhetoric of the election cycle that allegedly “insulted, demonized and threatened” women of all stripes.

Take Denison University, a private college in Ohio. Its Laura C. Harris Symposium, a campus series promoting women’s education, is formally sponsoring bus trips to the march in cooperation with its women and gender studies program as part of its 2016-17 theme “Making Just Democracies.”

To reserve a spot, Denison students are asked for a $40 deposit to be returned once they get on the bus (it’s forfeited if they do not). Denison staff members are asked to pay $60 to cover both the students’ bus rides and Metro fares once the group arrives, according to a website organizing the field trip. Organizers also encouraged others to donate more money in order to fund even more students’ transportation.

“We don’t want participation in these experiences to be available only to those who are sufficiently privileged that they can find a way to make the 400-mile trip to our nation’s capital and back,” Dr. Gill Wright Miller, director of the Women & Gender Studies program, told The College Fix.

Miller added the trip will be a learning experience for students as the school continues its study on “Making Just Democracies,” noting that “when this protest was first announced and then organized, it fit perfectly within our theme.”

At the University of Southern Maine, a GoFundMe effort is underway to help students attend the march in D.C.

“There is a lot at stake right now during the Trump administration, and this is a historical event that we do not want to miss out on,” organizers state. “The funds that are being raised will be going to bus transportation for about fifty USM students and faculty that are looking to travel to D.C.”

The effort has netted nearly $1,700 as of Monday.

Another GoFundMe effort has been less successful. One started by a University of Michigan student has not received any donations so far.

Some have taken the transportation issue into their own hands.

At Rider University in New Jersey, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Department and Lawrenceville Student Government Association are helping sponsor transportation to the march as well for a limited number of students, calling the opportunity a chance to promote “the equality of women in the United States and around the world.”

Meanwhile, the University of St. Thomas’ Luann Dummer Center for Women, in collaboration with student affairs, is offering a half-dozen bus tickets to the march. To earn the ticket, students must write an essay on their motivation for attending “and how you plan to integrate your participation into your UST experience upon return,” organizers state. For students who do not make the cut, the center will provide busing for University of St. Thomas community members to the Women’s March Minnesota.

Indeed, there are “Sister Marches” planned in dozens of cities across the nation. Most are slated to be held at state capitol buildings, parks or city halls, but a few are taking place on campuses, including at a couple of high schools and one at the University of Hawaii Maui College Campus.

Dr. Marie-Line Germain, a professor at Western Carolina University, is helping to host a sister march in Asheville, N.C.

“My aim in organizing this march,” Germain stated, “is to peacefully show our new administration that we stand together in solidarity with our families and friends for the protection of our rights, safety, and health.”

In New York, its United University Professions union, which represents academic and professional faculty at SUNY Cortland and at SUNY’s other state-operated campuses, has “strongly encouraged” members to take part, and is providing a variety of busing options to the main event and sister marches, according to its website.

Some students are also getting in on the action.

Akilah Russell of Detroit, a 23-year-old student at Western Michigan University, is working to help people get to the march in D.C., she told the Detroit Free Press.

“So much of what (President-elect Trump) said seemed flat-out wrong to me, but it also scared me,” Russell told the Free Press. “… I don’t think that anything we do will get him to step down or you know, anything super-drastic like that. But I do want him to know he will be held accountable for what he has said thus far, everything he will say and by the company he keeps.”

MORE: Students hold ‘Cry In’ over Trump victory

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Sara Otto -- University of Michigan

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