Column: The Women’s Resource Center is here to serve the community
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 17:01
Loyola’s Women’s Resource Center was founded in 1975 and was the first university in Louisiana to have a specific center catered to female students and their needs. The center was formed to serve the needs and interest of the female community of Loyola and also to offer its services to the women of New Orleans.
We have now been in operation for over 38 years. There were a few years in the 1980s that the WRC closed due to budgetary restraints, but the demand for the center grew from that, and we came back stronger than ever.
As an undergraduate and law school alumnae of Loyola, I am honored and proud to serve our community as the Interim Director of the WRC. Each day, the WRC works to fulfill our mission statement:
“The Women’s Resource Center aims to provide Loyola women and men with a positive college experience by responding to their needs as gendered human beings and by fostering an environment that is free of sexism and other forms of institutional and individual oppression.
It strives to create a supportive and inclusive campus environment through programming, services, and advocacy. The Women’s Resource Center supports the educational mission of Women’s Studies through programming and services.
It encourages and promotes the interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge about women amongst faculty by supporting research and course development assistance in those areas.
In all its endeavors, the center seeks to include and respond to the needs of staff members. To ensure that the community is involved in activities of the center, and that students can also find feminist role models and mentors, we encourage and maintain contact with alumni, the local community and links to other women’s centers, especially at Jesuit institutions.”
Since August, I have been listening to faculty, staff and students discuss the needs that the WRC should fulfill on our campus.
In the last three months, the WRC interns and I have worked to provide the Loyola community with more tangible resources available in our office and Living Room, both located on the third floor of Marquette. We have become more intentional on the information available to students, faculty and staff.
Our resources include, but are not limited to: a list of healthcare centers, a babysitting list, domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, information for survivors to seek help and a vast library of books focused on feminism.
Our living room space offers the Loyola community a peaceful space for study, meetings or relaxation.
Additionally, due to the demand on campus, we have become very intentional in providing resources to our lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and queer students, faculty and staff on campus.
So far this year, we have opened our living room to the Queer/Straight Student Alliance for meetings, we hold a queer study group each week, and we participated in a co-sponsored “Coming Out Day” in the Danna Center. Just last week, we hung posters on campus bringing awareness to the issues faced by transgender students.
The WRC is here to serve the diverse Loyola community. We will continue to expand and grow while holding true to our mission statement and original purpose as being a place for gendered beings to thrive and grow on campus.
Julie Thibodaux is the interim director at the Womens Resource Center and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org