Women’s Resource Center offers services, help

Leslie Schelat

Many students, faculty and staff don’t know what the Women’s Resource Center does.

“I’m not really sure what it is for,” freshman business major Amy Welling said. “I didn’t know it was part of Kent State.”

The Women’s Resource Center is part of the Human Resource department at Kent State. Located on Midway Drive across from Verder Hall, it is a place for education, advocacy and support of women on campus and in the community.

“We’re here to serve all women on campus,” said Hilda Pettit, Women’s Resource Center coordinator. “We welcome questions about our services, and we welcome visitors.”

Services at the center include on-campus speakers and events, health seminars, dispersing information on women’s issues, referrals, help with scholarships and advocacy about women’s issues. All services and events are free of charge.

Referral services at the center are personalized to meet individual needs. Depending on what kind of problem a woman is facing, the center will help find the resources to help.

“We don’t counsel,” Pettit said. “We help you find resources, we refer you, make appointments and will take you if needed, or go with you.”

The Women’s Resource Center also offers a variety of programming for women on campus. These programs are intended to educate and raise awareness of women’s health, education and safety issues.

Programs include films on diversity and seminars on professionalism, event planning and reproductive health. They are presented in conjunction with groups such as the Women’s Studies Program, Wick Poetry and other student organizations. The “Brown Bag Series” is a monthly lunch meeting for women to learn about a specific topic and discuss it with other women over a packed lunch.

“Some women started a walking group because of their meeting and discussion,” Pettit said, noting that friendships can also develop out of the educational programming the center offers.

The Women’s Resource Center also promotes women’s health in cooperation with the Health Center by offering information on safe sex, contraceptives and date rape. Representatives set up tables in the Student Center and meet with orientation classes to disperse information on sex, depression and eating disorders.

For older women, mobile mammograms are made available on campus twice a year as well as pamphlets on osteoporosis, menopause and nutrition.

“We want people to understand that it is important to be safe,” Pettit said.

The Resource Center also supports the Women’s Studies program, an interdisciplinary minor with classes in Women’s Studies and Feminist Theory. A library of more than 1,000 books and a reading and meeting room are available for all students’ and staff’s use.

As part of Women’s Health Month, there will be a women’s reproductive health seminar and workshop on Sept. 15. Important health issues such as Roe v. Wade and the morning after pill will be discussed.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the center will coordinate Kent State’s participation in the Race for the Cure in Cleveland. In the same month, it will also present Take Back the Right, a program to raise awareness about violence against women.

“We try to advocate through education,” Pettit said. “We try very hard to support everyone who walks in.” She encouraged students to stop by, call or e-mail for more information on programs and services offered.

Contact social services reporter Leslie Schelat at [email protected].