Student Organizations & Engagement in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Free Zone

FreeZone is Otterbein’s LGBTQIA+ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual) student organization. The work that FreeZone does spans almost every facet of campus life, from community-building social events to awareness-raising educational events. In the past, FreeZone has held karaoke parties, dances, ice cream socials, and water balloon fights; and it has led roundtable discussions, talkbacks, and conversations with other student organizations about LGBTQ sensitivity and inclusion. They also oversee the LGBTQ residential theme house and use it for FreeZone’s weekly meetings. At the end of the day, FreeZone works with other student orgs and with the school at large to help create an inclusive environment for all of Otterbein’s students and a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community.

For more information please contact Suzanne Ashworth, Faculty Advisor at

Iota Iota Iota (Tri-Iota)

Founded in 1992. the national honorary Iota Iota Iota (or Tri-Iota) encourages and supports scholarship and excellence in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. The Greek letter, iota, was selected for the name to represent the three goddesses Inana, Ishtar, and Isis.

Iota Iota Iota strives to maintain the feminist and anti-oppressive values central to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Students in the honorary work to support diversity in membership, egalitarian action and decision-making, and a more inclusive academic environment for all students.

Otterbein’s chapter of Tri-Iota (Gamma Epsilon) seeks to promote an interest in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, as well as support student research into social problems affecting all women and LGBTQIA+ persons. Our chapter also seeks to exemplify the values central to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Otterbein University: plurality of thought, egalitarianism, and social justice.

Membership is open to majors or minors in Women’s, Gender, or Sexuality Studies (WGSS) or any student at Otterbein University who has a strong interest in WGSS. Members must have achieved third semester standing with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

For more information please contact Tammy Birk, Faculty Advisor at

URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity)

Otterbein’s chapter of URGE embraces the same values and priorities of the national organization.  URGE envisions a world where all people have agency over their own bodies and relationships and the power, knowledge, and tools to exercise that agency. Otterbein’s chapter helps build this vision by advocating for sexual and reproductive justice for all.  URGE promotes positive sexuality in culture, policy, and practice, and creates spaces for those most marginalized by current sexual and reproductive policy to shape public action.  On Otterbein’s campus, URGE has sponsored sex-positive and safe sex workshops, campus teach-ins on reproductive activism and menstrual equity, and campaigns to raise awareness of anti-choice activism and transphobia.

For more information please contact Tammy Birk, Faculty Advisor at

Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Resource Center

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Resource Center (WGSRC) at 25 W. Home is staffed by a team of Otterbein undergraduates who serve as peer advocates and resource persons.

Trained in trauma and crisis support, peer advocates offer confidential support and resources for student survivors of sexual assault, relationship abuse and violence, and harassment.  They also provide support for students who are experiencing depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thinking, relationship difficulties, sexual and gender identity questioning, and forms of discrimination. The WGSRC peer advocates prioritize active listening and non-judgment.  Each of our advocates is required to complete comprehensive and ongoing training in sexual violence advocacy as well as suicide prevention and other distress behaviors.  WGSRC peer advocates are currently non-mandated reporters.

Peer resource persons in the WGSRC also provide support for students in distress, but their primary task is to connect survivors of sexual assault, relationship abuse and violence, and harassment to confidential resources or campus and community partners that can provide immediate attention.  Peer resources are mandated reporters.

Both the WGSRC peer advocates and resource persons serve as an important first contact for students who are interested in speaking to someone about their distress, but are unsure about institutional networks for help and support. When possible, advocates and resource persons will serve as a liaison with Otterbein personnel who are trained to provide more comprehensive and sustained forms of assistance (e.g. the Office of Wellness, affiliated psychologists and counselors, the University chaplain, the Office of Social Justice and Activism, the Otterbein Police Department).

Peer advocates and resource persons are available during drop-in hours at the Center.  Peer advocates also answer a 24 hour helpline.  Both the helpline and the Center guarantee a safe, confidential setting for questions, concerns, and immediate emotional support and guidance for students in distress.

If you are interested in training to become a WGSRC peer advocate or resource person, please contact Dr. Suzanne Ashworth, the faculty director, at

Team Consent/Safe Zone

Team Consent/Safe Zone is a peer education effort developed to better inform the campus community about sexual consent and communication as well as gender and sexual diversity.

Team Consent generates programming and facilitates conversation about sexual consent and violence prevention at Otterbein. Born of outreach efforts in the WGSS program, Team Consent oversees general as well as more focused programs in consent and anti-rape education for various campus audiences.

SafeZone is a gender and sexual diversity education program. It is designed to help different Otterbein audiences learn more about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and non-binary identities and experiences. More holistically, SafeZone promotes a more inclusive, informed, and respectful campus culture.

Students who are interested in co-facilitating Team Consent/Safe Zone conversations should contact Dr. Suzanne Ashworth, the Team Consent/Safe Zone faculty director, at