Celebrating a decade’s worth of assistance

Kate Bigam

LuEtt Hanson, associate dean of the College of Communication and Information, enjoys refreshments while reading about the history of the Women’s Resource Center which celebrated its 10th Anniversary yesterday. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

The mood was one of celebration as students, professors, administrators and even children milled around the Women’s Resource Center last night in celebration of the center’s 10th anniversary.

Jazz music played in the background as visitors enjoyed free food and drinks, socializing with one another and discussing the center’s presence on campus throughout the past decade.

“Ten years is a milestone,” said Hilda Pettit, who has been coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center for four years.

The center was opened in 1996 after a growing civil rights movement alerted university officials to the need for a facility to aid women, Pettit said.

The center, which employs two full-time workers as well as one part-time director and four student volunteers, sponsors activities such as mammography screenings, dating safety workshops and speakers’ bureaus.

The center also provides resource material on topics such as health, sexuality, abuse, feminism, diversity and more, acting as what Pettit calls a “middlewoman” to guide those in need toward helpful resources.

Although the center was designed to help women in need, Pettit said men who seek help from the center are never turned away.

“I am most proud that this center exists to help any person who walks in the door, no matter what their problem is,” Pettit said.

Clare Ford, freshman fashion design major, said the center stands out from the rest of the university because it offers an intimate atmosphere that is distinctly different from Kent State’s otherwise-rigid administration.

“This seems to be a little outside that structure,” Ford said. “Hilda doesn’t seem like an administrator.”

Ford, secretary of PRIDE!Kent and a member of the newly-formed Queer Liberation Front, said the Women’s Resource Center employees are sincere and caring, offering a safe haven for anyone who might need their help.

Rivka Rosenberg, Jewish student life coordinator for Kent State Hillel, attended the anniversary celebration with a co-worker after receiving invitations to the event. Rosenberg said she enjoyed the collages on display that chronicled the center’s work throughout the past 10 years.

“I didn’t really know what I was coming to, but I think it’s really kind of great that they have these displays up,” Rosenberg said. “It really paints the picture of what the Women’s Resource Center does.”

Rosenberg said in the near future, she will be working with Pettit to develop programming that will benefit Jewish women on campus.

Pettit said students react very well to the center’s presence by volunteering and attending events.

“We support students very heavily,” she said. “There’s a good deal of awareness about the center on campus.”

Contact enterprise reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].