Resource Center reaches out to women

Heather Scarlett

The Women’s Resource Center is located in the Carriage House off of Midway Drive, near the Main Street intersection. The center exists to offer a supporting and professional environment to improve the lives of Kent State women. ALLIEY BENDER | SUMMER KENT

Credit: Steve Schirra

Incoming female freshmen, as well as upperclassmen, may have questions about women’s issues as they consistently encounter new situations at Kent State.

For the past 10 years, the Women’s Resource Center has existed to help women find the answers to those questions.

Due to the need for a women’s center, former Kent State President Carol Cartwright appointed a committee to make recommendations on the issue. In November 1996, the Women’s Resource Center opened to assist and advocate women in need, according to the Center’s Web site (

The Women’s Resource Center is run by coordinator Hilda Pettit.

Pettit said one of the center’s upcoming events for the new semester is the celebration of its 10th anniversary. She said some other programs for the fall are:

• Involvement in Race for the Cure.

• Presenting a film to raise awareness on domestic violence issues.

• Coordinating mammograms on campus for female faculty and staff.

• Offering programs for students in residence halls addressing date safety and self-esteem.

The Women’s Resource Center deals with problems such as rape and domestic abuse on a one-on-one basis, Pettit said. Some steps for helping the victims are discussing the problem and deciding what resources are available, but the decisions are left up to the woman, she said.

The Women’s Resource Center doesn’t stand alone in helping women on campus.

“We work frequently with University Health Services, Residence Services, Adult Services, International and Comparative Studies Program, Women’s Studies and Financial Aid,” Pettit said.

“Lots of students need people to talk to, not just between 8 and 5. Town Hall II has a 24-hour calling center,” she said.

Two women’s issues that the center tries to raise awareness for are dating safety and breast cancer.

The “Healthy Hook-up Kit” is designed to help students “have a fun safe time,” according to the package. The kit consists of :

• Tips for a healthy hook-up.

• Nine date rape warning signs.

• Pick-up lines not to use.

• Helpful numbers to call.

• A condom and peppermint candy.

“The WRC raises awareness of the dangers of breast cancer through our participation in the Komen Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure and the facilitation of mammograms on Kent campus and selected regional campuses each year,” Pettit said.

Along with the issues of breast cancer and dating safety, the center has pamphlets on issues such as lesbian health and emotional abuse.

However, the Center’s number one issue is gaining attention about violence against women, Pettit said.

The center deals with many different cases, varying from sexual assault to financial problems. All women are given services, resources and support to assist them in their situations, Pettit said.

“Last year the WRC had over 2,000 phone calls and almost 800 visitors,” she said.

The Women’s Resource Center even offers a $500 scholarship for women of at least sophomore status who show a demonstrated interest in women’s issues, Pettit said.

If students wish to get involved with the Women’s Resource Center, there are two ways to do so.

“The first is to volunteer,” Pettit said. “There are a limited number of opportunities for students — male and female — to assist the WRC with programming, events, and offer input with regard to student needs. The second opportunity to get involved is through a student organization.”

“We are here to support students,” Pettit said.

Contact general assignment reporter Heather Scarlett at [email protected].