Undergraduate marketing student wins 2016 Essay Contest
Author: Yulya Toporochan
Posted: June 14, 2016

PSU’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Diversity Action Council (DAC) recognized Savannah Galindo with an undergraduate essay award at the 12th Annual President’s Diversity Awards ceremony on May 25.

The DAC is a president-appointed advisory committee comprised of PSU faculty, staff, and students that works with the Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion. DAC's role is to foster equity and social justice by guiding PSU programs, policies, and decision making. Every academic year, in collaboration with the Commission on the Status of Women, DAC conducts a student essay contest open to all PSU undergraduate and graduate students of all genders.

This year’s participants had to define feminist work and describe how it may be challenging, yet joyous, and allows individuals to grow personally and within communities. A quote from black feminist and writer Alice Walker provided a discussion point for the essay: “One of the joys of work is where it takes us. It helps us develop. That’s why it is so important to do work that you absolutely love. It’s the only way to grow into who you are meant to be.”

Although Savannah grew up in a predominantly female household she had to find her way towards feminism. Back then it was an abstract concept that no one had the vocabulary to articulate.

An excerpt from Savannah’s essay reads: “In my own home, “feminist” was thrown around like a dirty word, used as a slur to define a frightening radicalism. Other words were given this connotation: queer, vegan, atheist, etc. I came to avoid these subjects as I feared the ignorance and dismissal they would incite. It seemed easier to accept that these words were definitive of a nefarious “type” that I’d probably never encounter.”

Savannah entered the competition for two reasons. The first was her identification with the topic itself, the second one was for the chance worth taking.

“To me, it meant being a part of the school's culture, it meant feeling that my ideas and I belonged on this campus, and that if I had something important to say, there were people here who wanted to hear it.”

Savannah was surprised by her win and humbled to receive the award from Julie Caron, Associate Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion at the celebration event. She was also inspired by many other award winners who help create a safe, welcoming environment of diversity and inclusion at PSU.

Savannah is pursuing her BA in Advertising Management and Marketing with a goal to graduate in Spring 2018. To support herself, she is working as an advertising sales assistant at a media publishing company and as a content writer on a freelance basis.

After graduation, Savannah would like to work for an agency in Portland. But her biggest wish is to create beautiful work with her older sister, who is also in marketing. The sisters are dreaming of owning a firm, and producing materials and strategies for clients with a preference for unique boutique work.

>> Read Savannah's essay