The big, plump colorful sofas, surrounded by the sounds of laughter and conversation is the climate created at the Oregon State University Women’s Center.
The Women’s Center is one of seven cultural centers on campus. This center’s main focus is creating an open space to promote feminism in social justice, according to Natalie Cronan, a peer success facilitator at the Women’s Center.
“The goal of the Women’s Center is to create a space for students and anyone who feels comfortable to come and talk about social justice, and continue the fight towards equity and liberation for all,” Cronan said.
The Women’s Center was established in 1973, and since has been a sanctuary for women, and all identities, to come and enjoy a non-discriminatory space.
For the last 34 years, the Women’s Center has led women to live up to their full potential, and has led its participants to understand others and themselves, according to Cronan.
“The Women’s Center has given me a lot,” Cronan said. “It’s given me tools for facilitating difficult conversations and a better understanding of my identities and the way that affects me and how I interact with others.”
Along with an open space for students to create conversation, the Women’s Center also offers new forms of personal education to its peer facilitators, volunteers and affiliates, as well as activities and groups.
One of these activities and communities include their weekly gathering, “Treat Yourself Thursdays,” which takes place every week from noon – 1 p.m. at the Women’s Center. During this time Jennifer Rocks, a doctoral psychology intern at Counseling and Psychological Services, leads the group through different de-stressing and self-care practices.
“We explore different self-care methods each week during this time. Last week we colored, the time before that we learned about aromatherapy and proper hand massage techniques,” Rocks said.
Along with “Treat Yourself Thursdays,” the Women’s Center has a hand in facilitating the STEMinist group on campus. According to Cronan, the STEMinist group is a community dedicated to creating a place where women feel welcome in the science and research community.
“Men at OSU dominate the science and engineering fields, but STEMinist works to provide an inviting and inclusive community for those who are feminine identifying within STEM,” Cronan said.
Through these campus groups and the open space it provides, the Women’s Center creates a cohesive sense of community, according to Elijah Stucki, the graduate teaching assistant at the Women’s Center.
“My favorite part of the Women’s Center is the community here and the people that come in,” Stucki said.
Along with Stucki, psychology major Leia Song felt this sense of community after attending a “Treat yourself Thursday” event.
“This was my first time in the Women’s Center,” Song said. “I am an introvert and I wanted to change, and to start change you have to have a desire to change, and somewhere to start. This was a good place to start.”
To find out more about the Women's Center, follow the link to their page.