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Social Justice, Sustainability, and the F Word

Lauren Frey
Lauren Frey ’17 studied abroad in Solola, Guatemala, conducting family planning research with NC State’s Ethnographic Field School.

Lauren Frey takes the F word seriously. So seriously that she created a course around it. For that and other work to promote feminism (that F word) and gender equality on campus, in the community and internationally, NC State’s Council on the Status of Women awarded Frey ’17 with its Equity for Women student award given for outstanding leadership in establishing equity for women at NC State University.

Frey, who is majoring in Environmental Sciences and Women’s and Gender Studies, with a minor in Anthropology, is widely recognized as a student who takes bold steps to address contemporary issues. She believes that environmental and social issues are connected and have profound effects on national and international communities.

“Lauren Frey is no ordinary student,” her nominator says. “She is on a mission.”

“I am interested in environmental issues and would love to do work in research or advocacy,” Frey says. “I also care deeply about social justice issues. Sexism, racism, homophobia, ablism, and many other forms of discrimination continue to adversely affect many people today. Everything is connected; these identities intersect and these social issues are connected with environmental issues.”

To put her convictions into action, Frey co-chairs Service Raleigh and co-sponsors the Civic Engagement Initiative titled “The Empowerment Project.” She also makes time to volunteer with both NC State’s Women’s Center and InterAct of Wake County.

About that F word program: Frey designed what has become a University Honors Program Academy course to respond to the ignorance she encountered around the topic of feminism. “The curriculum includes the waves and types of feminism and aspects of society relevant to the movement,” she says. “For example, we had units on beauty and the media, language and gender, and the wage gap.”

Frey plans on pursuing her doctorate in anthropology. “I am not quite sure what my future jobs or career will look like,” she says. “I do know there’s a lot of work to be done. I would be happy doing many different types of work as long as it contributes to gender equality and environmental sustainability.”

More of Frey’s achievements have been featured in a Park Scholar story. You can also watch her 2014 TEDxNCSU talk.

By Katie McCreary, Communication Intern