Inside USD

Pierson Lends Support, Time at Women’s Fest

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hundreds of women flocked to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community Women’s Resource Center in San Diego’s Hillcrest area to attend a day-long festival of workshops, entertainment and resources at an event called Women’s Fest 2011: Do It Yourself (DIY)! This year’s theme focused on self-sufficiency.

The DIY movement empowers individuals to take matters into their own hands when it comes to artistic expression, home repairs, self-publication, community building, transportation and more.

Eric Pierson, PhD, department chair and professor in USD’s Communication Studies Department, led a panel discussion on media and communications during the event. Pierson praised the work being done at the center and described it as a vital part of the San Diego community.

“There is this idea of social justice in making sure that people are treated fairly and that’s very much part of USD’s mission; in many ways it’s a natural connection,” said Pierson (pictured). “It is important that the LGBT community knows that as a representative of USD we are supportive.”

His panel discussion, titled, “Surviving the Technology Tidal Wave” delved into privacy as a major concern in the LGBT community as social networking is changing the way people interact with friends, loved ones and the community.

“Clearly there is a need for safe spaces where people from the LGBT community can get together. They have to be open enough for people to have access to them, but also have some mechanisms for people who look at them as a site to promote their own agenda.”

Pierson added that when people are trying to use the Internet and social media as outlet tools, there’s a degree of uncertainty on the results, making privacy a complex issue.

Other workshops ranged from car repair and home improvement projects to breast cancer prevention and detection. Pierson said it was a great event. “It would be cool if their sphere of influence became wider then lots of other women would be able to participate in some of the activities.”

Pierson teaches communication studies courses that have an emphasis on media, particularly film, oversees USD’s Intersession trip to the Sundance Film Festival and is faculty advisor to the student-run USDtv.

— Leslie Luna ‘07

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