Jennie Wachowski has called Tulsa home for most of her life. “I went to college thinking I was never coming back,” she said. She felt Oklahoma wasn’t the place for her because the stereotype it has for being radically conservative doesn’t fit with her beliefs.
While attending Smith College in Massachusetts she began to realize that being surrounded by like-minded people only made her more cynical. Wachowski said that she took her opinions for granted because she didn’t feel challenged to share them. After getting her Bachelor’s in Women’s and Gender studies she returned to Tulsa. She became a grant writer and inclusion institute coordinator for the YWCA.
Wachowski was and is still good friends with the previous director of the United Campus Ministries. So when Reverend Nancy Eggen decided it was time to retire, she called Wachowski and suggested she apply.
Wachowski’s deciding factor was that she “felt called to ministry here.” She feels that social justice work is tied to her faith, and that is why she is so passionate about it. She has also recently started her seminary training at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa.
As the only staff member of the non-profit, Wachowski wears many hats. She handles the business side of things, which involves attending board meetings, tracking funds and communicating with networks of other nonprofits and charities in the Tulsa area.
She also works directly with students by supporting the student groups housed in the Little Blue House and connecting them to other organizations they can work with outside of campus.
Additionally, she provides pastoral care for students outside of what the university can provide so that students can feel more comfortable talking about any issues they have.
Most importantly, she said, “Social justice happens because students make it happen.”
There are plenty of new things happening in the Little Blue House this semester. There will be a new LGBTQ support group separate from PRIDE that will be more confidential. This is aimed at students who are only just beginning to embrace their sexuality and aren’t quite ready to announce it to the world.
In addition, the Society for Gender Equality is going to a reproductive justice conference in mid-February. There will also be a new faith group with a devotional study on Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book “Pastrix,” which focuses on the author’s unconventional religious faith.
“I’m in this work because I believe that every human being is a beloved child of God,” Wachowski said. “To do this work for a long time you have to be sustained by faith, whether in a religion or a community.”