By the numbers
25 years serving as director of the Women’s Center
1 director since the center was founded
1 assistant director/coordinator of gender violence prevention program
372 student employees, interns and volunteers at the Women’s Center since 1989
90,629 students have participated in a mandatory educational program on the prevention of sexual assault between 1992 and 2014
1 Jeanne Clery Safe Campus award from Security on Campus Inc. (1995)
1 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant received in 2007
24,291 Women on Wednesday attendance documented between 1997 and 2014 (records from 1990 to 1996 did not break out numbers for Women on Wednesday)
750 women have presented at Women on Wednesday since its inception in 1990
Q: What has been the Women’s Center’s role on campus?
A: The Women’s Center has explored, analyzed and created solutions to problems rooted in sexism. These problems have included gendered forms of violence, sex discrimination, devaluing of women’s contributions and perspectives, and attitudes and behaviors that give the impression that women and girls are the cause of their own exploitation. We have served women (and men) who have experienced rape and sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking, as well as women returning to college after stopping out for jobs or families, pregnant and parenting students and students engaging in projects related to gender issues. In essence, we engage, educate, serve and empower women to take their rightful place in the world.
Q: How has the center’s efforts evolved through the years?
A: When the Women’s Center opened, the University and local community had smaller numbers of people of color, LGBT people who were out and other under-represented people, but these communities have fortunately grown. Our university and local communities have experienced multiple changes in demographics over the past 25 years. We’ve worked to be pro-active with the changing needs and emerging issues for women as our campus and local community has transformed. The Women’s Center has been privileged to build successful alliances with other student affairs departments, multiple academic departments, student organizations and local organizations as this evolution has occurred.
Q: What is the most satisfying aspect of leading the Women’s Center?
A: Building the Women’s Center from its feminist activist history has been immensely satisfying for the creative and transformative potential, but building and developing the center has never been a one-person job. As sappy as it sounds, the synergies that occurred each year due to the mix of permanent staff and students, both graduate and undergraduate, were amazing and powerful. Add to that a whole lot of connections and collaborations with others on and off campus … and you have the necessary elements for feminist social change. It has been incredibly fulfilling work. I am confident that this critical mix of students and staff who contributed ideas, energy, emotion and hard-work to accomplish goals and make change will continue.
Q: What is the center’s focus heading forward?
A: Gender equity and justice will continue to define the types of services and the overall program we offer to students. There continues to be a need for advocacy and support services for victims of gender violence, in addition to educational programming that assists students in understanding the ways in which gender impacts every aspect of their lives. We are definitely looking forward — and look forward to the next chapter of the Women’s Center!