Plaid Works

Sarah Gaines: An Advocate for Fairness and Equity

“I have some personal experience with these issues, and if I am able to make a difference on campus, then I will have had a very fulfilling college experience.” — Sarah Gaines

Sarah GainesSarah GainesSarah Gaines provides a student’s perspective working as an intern in Alma College’s Civil Rights and Title IX office.

A political science major with a minor in women’s and gender studies, Sarah became involved with the Title IX office following her training as a student-athlete. She approached Kevin Carmody, the Civil Rights/Title IX coordinator, to see if she could get involved.

“I am passionate about women’s issues and stopping all forms of discrimination and assault,” says Sarah, a sophomore from Colorado Springs. “I have some personal experience with these issues, and if I am able to make a difference on campus, then I will have had a very fulfilling college experience.”

In addition to running the office’s social media accounts, Sarah works with Carmody in putting together awareness and prevention programs. She co-facilitates trainings for all athletic teams, Greek Life and the marching band.

She also helped plan a “How to Help a Survivor” workshop, in partnership with RISE Advocacy, as part of Dating/Domestic Awareness Month. (RISE is an acronym for Recovery, Independence, Safety and Empowerment). In addition, she is organizing Sexual Assault Awareness activities and spearheaded the creation of a Sexual Assault Summit.

Sarah GainesSarah Gaines“I think her work has been vital for our office,” says Carmody. “Sarah has a unique perspective as a student-athlete, which I think has significantly increased our ability to engage with this demographic. Additionally, it has been incredible for me to have a student perspective in talking through ideas and brainstorming as I risk being out of touch with current students.”

By working with Carmody, Sarah has developed oral and written communication skills and gained experience in event planning and organizing. She has learned about social norms and what to focus on within prevention programs.

“Sarah aims to go to law school, with a goal to be a community organizer,” says Carmody. “I hope that working in this office helps to connect her work with a broader social justice lens, as well as honing more specific skills to help toward her professional goals.”

Adds Sarah: “I am carrying out conversations with people who are very influential on this campus and producing professional emails that will hopefully carry over to a professional job.”

Through her participation with the Model United Nations team, she and other Alma students were able to travel to Shiv Nadar School in Gurgaon, India, to teach students in seventh through 12th grades about the Sustainable Development Goals — a collection of 17 global goals set by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015 — and how to implement them in their own society and around the world.

Sarah GainesSarah Gaines“It was an incredible experience because I was able to make a difference in the lives of the youth half way around the world,” says Sarah.

Sarah acknowledges having a campus job that is related to her major and what she wants to do with her life will show graduate schools that she is driven and passionate about these issues and is willing to take initiative.

“I enjoy talking with all different types of people and learning about their views about the issues we are dealing with and being able to educate my peers about these issues and about social norms that are harmful to the stereotypes,” says Sarah.

Sarah competes on the swim and dive, track and field, and Model UN teams. She also is a part of the Human Trafficking Coalition for Isabella, Gratiot and Clare counties.

Story published on October 22, 2019