How often do you have to move before you're officially considered nomadic? Well, actually, we shouldn't complain -- living up to his promise, when Willham needed the space in 108, Dr. Huss worked with Jeff Gersh (Willham Hall Director) to find us new space. So we moved across the hall to some very nice rooms -- 110 and 111 Willham North.
If you're not sure quite where that is, just go down the hall with the washers and dryers and you'll see us. That's right, you can do your laundry while you visit the Center, certainly an unprecedented convenience. Our new area actually has its own bathroom, in addition to the usual amenities (room for meetings, the vertical file, the book and video collection, the computer, and so on.) We're also working to set up a place where mothers who are breastfeeding can nurse or pump in a clean, comfortable, private location -- more on that as it comes along.
For now, we just wanted to make sure you could find us. And we want to thank Jeff Gersh and Dr. Huss again for their commitment to finding space for the OSU Women's Resource Center.
After settling our volunteers, our library, our vertical file and our video collection into our lovely new space, replete with a meeting table and lots of desks and chairs, it was vitally important that we... hang posters and get a coffeemaker. And throw a grand opening bash.
Okay, those weren't the most vitally important things -- but they were our FIRST actions as a WRC celebrating its spacious new home in the women's wing of Willham's residence hall. Our next action was to set up programs for the year. And then we bought a computer so our visitors can use all the bookmarks we found on women's issues to do research and find out the things they need to know. And THEN we did the most important thing -- we talked to Dr. Huss, who is in charge of Residential Life, to see how long we could expect to keep our space before moving on.
As you know, the WRC has had a tumultuous history as we've worked first to open a center for women ANYWHERE at all, and then to find new space when our brief stay in the Health Center ran its course, and so we were reasonably apprehensive about meeting Dr. Huss. We couldn't have been more wrong, because he's absolutely great.
The conclusion of the meeting was that he thinks
the WRC is an important asset; we can stay in 108 Willham North until further
notice; and if we ever have to move, Dr. Huss will help us find other space
through Residential Life. That's right. After all this furor,
it appears we've finally found a home, and we have the director of Residential
Life to thank for that. Thanks, Dr. Huss. And you readers:
come on down to 108 Willham North
to see us. Since we were assured we'd be here for quite a while, we started the interior decorating. It's worth a look.
We have new digs, new volunteers, and a year's worth of exciting events in the making. Thanks to Counseling's and Dr. Beer's support, we have been able to borrow a room in 108 Willham North in order to make our resources available in a lovely location.
As well, the new space is available for all women's groups on campus to borrow as a meeting space. Call 707-0185 if you wish to schedule a meeting time in the room.
We are also working on putting together a computer, so by mid-Fall at the latest, you can use our volunteers' extensive set of Internet bookmarks to find out about women's issues online and even do research for classes!
We're very excited about the upcoming year, and we are continuing to talk with Dr. Beer and Counseling to come to a viable solution to provide permanent space to the WRC on campus, along with a set of principles allowing for interaction, cooperation, and equality between the student arm of WRC operations and Counseling's potential role as a participant and equal partner in the WRC.
As usual, if you wish to be a volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org call 707-0185. And if you want to fire off a letter of support to the administration, scroll down to the bottom of the page for relevant email addresses.
COMING SOON: a pic of WRC volunteers, and maybe some photos from last year's Celebration of Women!
Well, it's not the same as permanent space in the Student Union, but the WRC has been loaned a small room in the basement of the Student Health Center for the summer and through the beginning of next year. This means we can still open our library, periodical selections, video selections, and our huge vertical file on everything from current events to women's health to the campus and still be of some use as a resource to OSU women. We would like to thank OSU's Counseling division for their extreme generosity in loaning us this space.
Furthermore, the meetings with Dr. Beer brought some good news: the WRC volunteers and OSU Counseling have met together, and will continue to meet this summer, in an effort to have the WRC become an official part of OSU as a sub-division of OSU's Counseling division. If this happens, the WRC won't become just an arm of Counseling. It will simply gain an ally in Counseling, be an official part of OSU's institutional structure, and retain its original goals of providing an information clearinghouse for all the women of OSU. And we might look forward to gaining volunteer training programs, and maybe even assertiveness training programs for interested OSU women, through Counseling's help and expertise.
This is a short update -- after all, nothing is decided yet, and the next meeting won't be until June. (And we haven't even moved to our new digs yet! Maybe next week...) But we wanted to share the good news with those of you who have supported us through our long struggle to become a permanent resource for OSU women. Cross your fingers for us -- we'll update this in July!
P.S. -- if you want to send an email to OSU
administrators supporting the WRC's existence on campus and encouraging
them to push for the establishment of a WRC with permanent space, a WRC
comparable to those offered by other Big 12 schools, simply scroll down
to the bottom of the page. Thanks
for all your help!
Update: WRC Likely to Not Get
First of all, to let you know how it all turned out between this post and the last one, the volunteers have decided not to become a student organization right now. There are lots of reasons for this, one of the main ones being that it is time-consuming and will invalidate all the coalition-building we've been doing. And we like being a coalition -- what better way to make sure that the WRC represents a fair and diverse viewpoint than to involve groups representing all the different kinds of students on campus?
So what about space? We're losing our room, 144 Student Health Center, in May. And the university sure hasn't jumped right in to offer us a new, permanent space so we could stop all this silly back-and-forth talk and get down to our real business: providing OSU women with a place to go, a place to get info, a place to breastfeed, a place to become leaders, and a place to get involved in all the positive programs we've brought to the OSU campus.
But some of the WRC volunteers are meeting with Dr. Beer on April 8th to talk about what kind of spaces are available on campus for next year...There's the possibility of a cubicle (which isn't private, or spacious enough for our books, or lockable so we can safely store all our videos and our TV and stuff); there's the possibility of some space in one of the dorms; there's the possibility of sharing some space with OSU Counseling. At least, that's what we understand about the situation for the present. None of these options give the WRC the permanent, free-standing, useful kind of status or space we need to continue providing programs and information for women in a non-biased and comfortable atmosphere. All of these possibilities are less than what we need to be really useful, accessible, and efficient -- and all of them are temporary.
We're not really sure why OSU is so hesitant to provide permanent space for the WRC, when every other Big 12 school besides us and Baylor has either a WRC or a funded Women's Studies Program, when it knows it's behind the times by twenty years or so (the average length of time these other schools have had WRCs). But this means probably another year of knowing our "home" is a temporary one, and we are saddened and disappointed by that.
However, we're glad that Dr. Beer is making
good-faith efforts to help the WRC stay in existence, since we've received
so much enthused, positive feedback from students on our programs and our
information this year. And we haven't given up hope that Dr. Halligan
and/or the Space Committee will choose to actively involve himself/itself
in creating a permanent WRC on par with what other colleges across the
If you would like to help us by telling the
administration that you support the WRC and want them to make a permanent
WRC a reality for our very deserving student body, scroll down to the bottom
of this page and fire off a few e-mails. We can use all the help
we can get -- because honestly, what OSU is doing about the plight of the
WRC is starting to look a whole lot like apathy. Thanks for tuning
in, and come back after April 8th to learn about the outcome of the meeting
with Dr. Beer.
Update: Fate of WRC Still Up
in the Air
Well, as we told you in the post below, two volunteers from the WRC met with the Space Committee on February 5th. We gave them a packet of information detailing the accomplishments of the WRC so far, our struggle to gain space in the Student Union, the number of volunteers, groups who are in the WRC Coalition, information on how far OSU is behind the Big 12, and a list of other colleges nationwide that have WRCs, including everyone from Duke and Princeton to small community colleges.
You would think that would be pretty convincing, wouldn't you? And it's not like we're asking for very much -- a room to keep our growing library of books on women's health, civil rights, renters' rights, careers, financial planning, women's scholarships, and women's studies; a small room where women's groups can meet with each other and plan events; and another small room where nursing moms who are students, staff, or faculty could have access to breast pumps, privacy, and a fridge. Did you know that there are currently no facilities for breast-feeding on the OSU campus? Women who breast-feed are trying to pump milk in the bathrooms.
The Space Committee told us to come back with a formal proposal at a later date, and to get registered as a student organization. That would be okay -- if the WRC was a student organization. But actually, it's a center run collaboratively by volunteers and several recognized organizations who have joined the WRC Coalition. There's another problem with this request: no one has ever asked us to do it before. For nearly two years, we've been told that we needed to build a coalition of groups. Now that we've managed to do that, and to show broad campus support for the WRC, the administration has set us a new, time-consuming task. If they wanted the WRC to be a registered student organization, why did they make us do all the coalition building, which after all becomes moot if the WRC becomes its own organization with its own government?
As you can see, it doesn't really make sense. What it does do is eat up the time and resources of the WRC volunteers, and it gives the Space Committee a reason to not consider our request for several months. And time is of the essence, since they will very soon begin allotting all the space that's being vacated this summer at the opening of the new Student Center.
The volunteers are now considering whether to apply for recognized status or approach the administration about whether this is a reasonable request in light of all our strenuous efforts at coalition building. We are mostly very frustrated that after all our work to meet the requests of the university, the administration has found yet another reason to delay serious consideration of our need for space.
It does seem that, proposal or no proposal, recognized status or no
recognized status, if the administrators and members
of the Space Community had bothered to actually look at the evidence showing
how inferior its offerings are when compared to Big 12 universities (or
even other universities nationwide), it would simply make the WRC a priority.
As it is, they are showing an appalling lack of concern for OSU's female
students, and they are showing their indifference to the issue of whether
the WRC will continue to exist at OSU.
Here's how you can help...
scroll to the bottom of this screen, where you will find the email addresses of big OSU administrators.
please send them an email telling them why you think the WRC is an
and encourage them to make it a priority.
Will the Administration Choose
to Support the WRC?
Did you know that the WRC's current space is only on loan from the Student Health Center? The idea that OSU should have a Women's Resource Center came about two years ago, and at that time, the co-founders asked different administrators to help us find space for a WRC. Finally we asked Steve Rogers, the administrator of the Student Health Center. He happened to have a room that wasn't being used -- but the catch was that it was already promised to someone else starting in May 1999. Rather than wait another whole year, and then approach the administration again about space, and be inactive the whole time, we took the space and opened up.
But that means that at the end of this school year, we have to find new space or the OSU WRC will cease to exist.. So as our next step, we recently met with the Student Union administrators. This summer, many offices will be moving to the new area of the Student Union now under construction, so we hoped that space would open up in the Student Union -- especially since that would be so much more convenient for everyone than our current location! But the administrators said that even though new offices were being built for the Bursar, Registrar, and Scholarships sections that currently reside in the Student Union, those offices wouldn't be moving out of their old space in the Student Union, nor would they be giving up their new space in the Student Center! Furthermore, they said that even if those offices did give up their old space, allocating space to the Women's Resource Center probably wasn't going to be a priority.
We understand that those offices may have a genuine need for space, and we are completely sympathetic to that -- after all, we want the students to get the best possible service, being students ourselves. But we don't understand how the WRC can fail to be a priority to the administrators of OSU, especially since OSU is the only university in the Big 12 besides Baylor that has neither a funded Women's Studies Program nor a Women's Resource Center. We are behind the times -- don't the administrators want us to catch up?
Fortunately, the Student Union isn't our only option. We are meeting with the OSU Space Committee this Friday, February 5th, a group that governs space allocation for the rest of the campus. When we met with them a year ago, they didn't offer permanent space to us -- but then, a year ago, we were just an idea. Now we are a functioning, volunteer-run WRC with wide student and faculty support; we provide programs, information, and access to special scholarships. So we hope very much that on Friday, the administrators of OSU will agree to support the goals of the WRC by giving us centrally-located space on campus.
We as students have done everything we can to make a WRC come into existence at OSU, both to provide information for women and men interested in women's studies, and to provide a place where the different women at OSU can talk to each other and form connections. The fate of the WRC is now in the administration's hands; only they have the power to give it new space on campus. If they fail to give space to the WRC, they are making a statement, and that statement is: "The administration doesn't believe it is important to support the women of this campus, to give them access to information and scholarships that might help them succeed -- and it isn't interested in catching up to the Big 12, even if that means our students get fewer services and advantages."
We really hope they don't say that. We hope
they offer us new space. Because if they don't, then the women of
OSU will lose a very valuable asset.
Here's how you can help...
If you believe that OSU needs a WRC, let them
know! Below are email links to several key administrators you can
write to in order to state your belief that OSU
needs a permanent, centrally-located Women's Resource Center to meet the
needs of OSU students.
Dr. Birdwell, Chairman of the Space Committee
Dr. Halligan, President of OSU
Dr. Keys, Director of
the Student Union
Want to volunteer? Contribute? Make suggestions?
Send a note to email@example.com