Williamson House hosts successful grand opening

Molly Merryman and Evgenia Fotiou talk at the Williamson House Grand Opening Sept. 28, 2016.

Adriona Murphy

The Williamson House, the new home to both Kent State’s Women’s Center and the Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services office, hosted its grand opening this Wednesday.

After moving to the new location, the offices held an open house for people to experience the space and talk to one another.

Students, faculty and staff from all over campus attended the opening — a sight Cassie Pegg-Kirby, the assistant director of the Women’s Center, was excited to see.

“You realize how many supporters you have,” Pegg-Kirby said. “There’s an amazing collection of people from all across the campus here. It’s very energizing.”

Jennifer O’Connell, director of the Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services office, was also excited by the turnout.

“There are so many people that support the work we do and care about our students,” O’Connell said. “It means the world that (they’re) here for the Women’s Center and the SRVSS office.”

Both Heather Adams, director of the Women’s Center, and Alfreda Brown, vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, spoke at the event. They thanked all of those who were involved with both centers and the respective moves, and invited people to explore the house.

“Think about how you, too, can utilize the space,” Brown said.

The Williamson House, which was previously home to the Alumni Association, has been transformed into a place with a “modern-classic” feel, Adams said.

“I hadn’t come here before I joined the peer mentorship program,” said Nicolle Di Domenico, a sophomore geology major. “But now that I’ve seen it, it’s really inviting, warm and just positive. I really enjoy it.”

The Women’s Center and SRVSS office were previously located in the Carriage House, a few yards away from the Williamson House.

“We are so glad to have a space that allows us to provide more, to do more, to offer more and to be a place for the whole campus,” Pegg-Kirby said.

Despite being called the Women’s Center, the center is open to all and encourages everyone to get involved.

“Working in this environment has made it very clear to me that the conversations that we have and the issues that we’re dealing with are not just limited to women,” Pegg-Kirby said. “Having the conversation with one group of people does not change the culture; everyone has to be engaged in the conversation.”

Felix Reynoso, a junior air traffic control major, previously works as a student worker with the Women’s Center. He said he felt working with the center helped him develop in both a personal and a professional sense.

“I still have a relationship with them,” Reynoso said. “They’re really special people.”

The Williamson House is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to students, faculty and staff.

Contact Adriona Murphy at [email protected]