Welcome to the Women and Gender Advocacy Center


wgac's website

About us

Through advocacy, the Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC) provides confidential crisis intervention and emotional support, as well as information about academic, legal, medical, emotional and student conduct resources to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. WGAC also offers support to secondary survivors, such as intimate partners, friends, family and you.

We stand united, offering support and empowerment to survivors, driving systemic change and nurturing a community where all genders thrive free from violence and oppression.

A foundation of belonging

WGAC provides programs and resources focusing on all genders, social justice and interpersonal violence prevention. Additionally, WGAC advocates for and supports victims of sexual violence, stalking, sexual harassment and relationship violence. The purpose is to provide a safe and affirming space for students at Colorado State University, while supporting systemic change to end all forms of oppression within our community.

To fulfill our mission, the WGAC offers a variety of programming throughout the year. This programming ranges from large scale events to awareness months to workshops and facilitations. Many of these programs center around interpersonal violence and survivor voice. WGAC also engages through other topics of gender and social justice.


The WGAC at Colorado State University has evolved over five decades. Its model is a direct result of the evolution of the student and academic affairs structures.

In the late 1960s, throughout the nation the Women’s Liberation Movement coincided with the restructuring of Student Personnel Services. On most campuses, the offices of the Dean of Women and the Dean of Men were combined into the Office of the Dean of Students. Colorado State was no exception to this change. However, in 1970 the visionary administration at CSU saw a need to continue to provide a more contemporary office for women and created the Office of Women’s Relations, which reported to the Office of Student Relations. Holding joint responsibilities in the Office of Student Relations, Chris Kelley was selected to be the Director of this newly named unit. Early work focused on educating all students as to the concerns of women, as well as assessing the status of women at the University.

Today, the Center continues to serve as confidential advocates providing resource and support for students navigating the academic, legal, medical and emotional aftermath of sexual violence, sexual harassment, stalking and/or relationship violence. WGAC has also grown significantly in its educational programs and advocacy. Trainings and workshops that are facilitated throughout campus by our professional staff and talented peer educators (the Red Whistle Brigade). Signature programs include the Feminist Thought & Activism Conference (started in 2005), Consent Turns Me On Campaign and Reframe. Advocacy, once completely volunteer maintained, has expanded to three professional advocates, a secondary survivor workshop and trauma-informed yoga groups.

Our timeline

The Women and Gender Advocacy Center has a history that spans five decades, evolving from the Office of Women's Relations in 1970 to its current role in addressing gender equity and supporting survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.
Creation of Office of Women's Relations

CSU establishes the Office of Women's Relations to address women's concerns and provide a contemporary office in response to the Women's Liberation Movement and restructuring of Student Personnel Services.

Cooperative Agreement and Name Change

Women's Interdisciplinary Studies Program joins the Office, becoming Women's Program and Studies with a cooperative agreement with Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for enhanced visibility and support.

Growth and Expansion

Office of Women's Programs and Studies evolves, expanding programs such as Women at Noon and establishing the Kathryn T. Bohannon Fund. Leadership changes occur with the appointment of new directors.

Center Rebranding & Renaming

The Office of Women's Programs and Studies becomes the Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC), now a student service within Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS).

Online chat feature added during the pandemic

To provide confidential services to students during quarantine, due to its success, will become a staple in future services.

CCASA's Innovative Practices Award

Elizabeth Amoa-Awuah, Assistant Director of Educational Programs, received this prestigious award for outstanding contributions to sexual assault prevention and education in Colorado.

Member Program Spotlight

WGAC was selected as a Member Program Spotlight, which honors programmatic efforts of organizations in Colorado.

65 percent support increase over 2021

Increased support of survivors by 27 percent from 279 to 355 people with 961 hours of service.

A notable trend

Advocates referred 86 survivors to police. WGAC's police referral numbers continue to be significantly higher than the national average.

Our staff

Our staff brings diverse expertise and a shared dedication to creating a safe and affirming environment for students. They work collaboratively to provide support for survivors and promote gender equity through their roles in victim services and educational programs.

wgac's page
Victoria Benjamin
Assistant Director for Victim Services
Benjamin is a first-generation college graduate and Colorado State University alum, who has earned earned two bachelor’s degrees: one in Sociology and a second Women and Gender Studies.
Erica LaFehr
Assistant Director for Educational Programs
LaFehr provides leadership and implementation for education and outreach programming on social justice issues, with a specific focus on gender based violence prevention/sex and gender-based issues throughout the campus and community.
Kristin Middlesworth
Office Manager
Kristin supervises front desk staff and has degrees from Michigan and CSU. Specializing in sexual violence policy, she's taught and volunteered in Minnesota. Passionate about survivor support, she enjoys the outdoors and crafting.
Lauren Shulman
Coordinator for Victim Advocacy
Lauren has experience in CSU housing and HIV risk work. She holds degrees in Human Development and Student Affairs from CSU and has volunteered on the Victim Assistance Team. Committed to survivor support and combating oppression, she enjoys crafting and reading in her downtime.
Karen Eichel
Interpersonal Violence Counselor
Karen provides counseling for survivors of interpersonal violence at CSU. Holding degrees in Psychology and Counseling from CSU, she has experience in mental health and university settings. Committed to trauma healing and inclusive support, Karen enjoys outdoor activities, music, and crafting in her free time.
Rachel Auerbach
Program Coordinator for Victim Advocacy & Education
Rachel, a CSU newcomer, holds degrees in Women and Gender Studies and Environmental Studies from Denison University. Experienced in advocacy and education in Wisconsin, she focuses on environmental justice and survivor support. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Colorado, caring for her cats, and tending to her plants.
Shyla Kallhoff
Coordinator for Victim Advocacy
Shyla, a confidential advocate, holds dual degrees from NWMSU and a master's from UNL, where she also worked with LGBTQA+ and survivor advocacy groups. Formerly Project Director at Doane University, she focused on reducing interpersonal violence. New to Fort Collins, Shyla enjoys discussing plants, crafts, and local spots.
Lili Zamarripa
Education and Social Media Programming Coordinator
Lili, a first-generation CSU graduate with a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies, has a background in victim assistance and tribal outreach. Specializing in issues like Femicide and MMIWR, her work aims to bridge service gaps for Latine and Indigenous communities in the realm of gender-based violence.
Em Bauer
Masculinity Program Coordinator
Em, the Masculinity Program Coordinator, holds a B.S. in Psychology from CSU. With past roles in peer education and research, Em concentrates on serving men and masculine-identifying individuals on campus, aiming to foster a future for masculinity devoid of violence.