University Park

Gender Equity Center offering virtual programming and services

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- While COVID-19 has resulted in students moving to online learning, among other changes, the Gender Equity Center, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, is one of many entities working to make sure the education and connections continue for not just students but the entire Penn State and surrounding communities.

“While the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and social isolation can be incredibly stressful, we want students and the community to know we continue to be here to support them, even in virtual spaces,” said Jennifer Pencek, programming coordinator of the Gender Equity Center. “The education doesn’t stop and neither does the importance in creating fulfilling connections. I would encourage everyone to use their time online in ways that feel productive and that allow them to connect with others. We are so happy to be able to collaborate with various organizations and offices to best support as many people as possible.”

Gender Equity Center staff are providing virtual counseling and advocacy services, as well as educational opportunities. Among the virtual initiatives are recordings of programs, including those covering sexual violence, Title IX, gender stereotypes, and relationship violence with an emphasis on LGBTQA issues. The programs can be shown virtually for any class, student organization, or individual who requests them. Requests can be made by e-mailing

The first virtual program in a series of engagement opportunities includes a watch party of retired Nashville police officer Monica Blake’s powerful talk she gave in February as part of a collaboration among the Gender Equity Center, Strategies for Justice, World Campus, Multicultural Resource, and Centre Safe. The watch party is at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 2. RSVP online in order to receive the link to view and participate. Blake, who details her story surviving sexual violence, relationship violence, and retaliation, will be participating in the watch party.

Join the Gender Equity Center every Friday at 7 p.m. for Streaming School. The office will be streaming episodes of favorite television shows and talking about topics and issues around gender equity. The first session begins Friday, April 3. To join, users will need to get the Netflix Party Chrome extension and use a computer or tablet. The link to the watch party will be shared on the center’s social media and listserv the morning of the party. 

Speaker, author, and teacher Scott Fried returns to Penn State as part of team comprising the Gender Equity Center, the Presidential Leadership Academy, and the Jana Marie Foundation, to facilitate “A Chance to Exhale,” a virtual space to find and keep community. Use the Zoom link to participate starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7. Sessions will take place after that on each Thursday April 16 through at least May 7.

Drawing upon his 32 years of surviving and living with HIV, Fried will offer some pertinent life skills and hard-won lessons to help us through this difficult time. He will also give participants an opportunity to reflect on experiences and share some heartwarming inspiration. The sessions are geared for anyone 18 and older. Plans are in the works for similar sessions geared toward those under 18 and their families.

Follow the Gender Equity Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using @PennStateGenEq to stay up to date on virtual initiatives, news, and more. You can also join the Gender Equity Center listserv by e-mailing

Last Updated March 30, 2020