Center for Women’s Studies offers services to all students

By Senior Staff Writer Mari Williams

Professor Lynne Rieff and then-Professor Anna Lott established the Center for Women’s Studies 10 years ago as part of the women’s studies program. Since its start, it has blossomed into a hub of many services for students of all genders.

“We are a big referral center for students,” said Emily Kelley, coordinator for women’s studies.

The overall purpose of the Women’s Center is bigger than this campus.

“The Women’s Center champions a lot of people on this campus,” Kelley said. “It’s a home for people who don’t otherwise have a place to be.”

Women have learned to take control of their lives with the support offered by the center and the people there, she said.

The Women’s Center offers several distinctive services that are not offered anywhere else on campus.

Students are provided access to computers and free printing, Kelley said, as well as free bottled water and snacks.

Kelly helped develop the Women’s and Gender Studies Association in 2014.

“The main purpose of it is to educate, foster good relationships between genders and to open the scope of the Women’s Center,” she said.

The RSO emphasizes inclusion as one of the most important goals, she said.

The center can also be a safe haven for students who need it.

“The Women’s Center is important because it actually gives a location for students to come to where they feel safe, especially women,” said volunteer Jennifer Allen.

Services and information are available to all students regardless of gender, culture or sexual orientation, she said.

Kelley said she is always available for students to talk to whether it be to vent or just talk about their day.

There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities at the center.

“In the Women’s Center, there’s always room for volunteers to come in here to help answer the phone and help work on projects that are going on here in the center,” Kelley said. “I always need volunteers to work all of the different functions and events that we set up during the years’ time.”

When Allen is not in class she can often be found volunteering in the Women’s Center, greeting visitors and helping them find resources they need.

“I pretty much do anything the coordinator needs me to do,” she said.