Author: Sommer Hamilton
Director of Residence Life Kecia Baker said the “one-year transition process” of moving the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) from 1599 Campus Road into Stewie Hall is beginning this year. Baker is helping to oversee the move. Assistant Dean of Students for Community Life and Director of the ICC Brandy Jones, Assistant Director of the ICC Naddia Palacios and Women’s Center residents will assist Baker with the move. Project SAFE will also be joining the WRC in Stewie, as both fall under Jones’s new operation of Community Life.
Controversy arose during the 2004-2005 school year when the Master Plan included the decision to build an Alumni Center at the current site of the Women’s Center. Jones assured the Weekly that last semester’s residents of the Women’s Center were “all aboard with the resource center moving to Stewie.”
At the suggestion of the center being moved into Stewie, the residents “leapt out of their seats and jumped for joy,” Baker said.
Jones said current residents are going to have a lot of input about the space, that “they would be involved in helping to pick out the furniture and to develop the space.”
In terms of the specific interior design, Jones said the “process has not really started. We haven’t started the conversation with them yet about what the set up is going to be and the plan.” Palacios said, “[The residents] know that they’re going to be included.”
Despite Jones’s and Baker’s reports of the residents’ enthusiasm, Women’s Center residents declined to speak with the Weekly. Although initially willing to talk to the Weekly, the residents informed the Weekly that Palacios advised them to not speak on behalf of the WRC and for all questions to be directed to Palacios and Baker.
Program Assistant for Project SAFE Shannon Sullivan (senior) is excited for the move. She explained that the proximity of the office to the first-year residence halls puts Project SAFE where it can help first-year students, one of the groups most vulnerable to sexual assault. Its new location outside of an administration building also makes it more accessible to students.
According to Baker, Jones, Palacios and Sullivan, the increased size of the location is an advantage for both groups. Plans for the space include a resource library, an office, a lounge and a room to put on larger programs than the current space allows. The new center will not be accessible from inside Stewie—all students will be able to access it without keys to the residence hall.
Project SAFE is making a “huge turn” this year, “setting the groundwork [ . . . ] to increase the breadth and depth” of the program, Sullivan said. Jones stated that Project SAFE currently has an office in Johnson 107, but Sullivan said they are currently operating without an office due to a reform of their previous location within the Office of Student Life, after which there was “no room” for Project SAFE. Project SAFE is currently providing resources through email and in-person meetings.
Project SAFE kicked off their programming with “Love Your Body Day” on October 17. The event’s slogan was “Love your body, keep it SAFE!” Events included mirror decorating, free massages, healthy snacks, a self-defense class, yoga and a nutritionist meeting. Students wrote why they love their body on a mural. The event also offered information on the school’s sexual assault policy.
Until the transition is complete, the WRC will continue to operate out of 1599.
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