SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Established as a place for feminists, as well as moderate women who are about the business of affirming themselves, the Wittenberg University Womyn’s Center will host an open house from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, in honor of National Womyn’s History Month and in celebration of its new location on the ground level of South Hall. Refreshments will be provided, and Just Eve, Wittenberg’s all-female a cappella group, will perform at 5 p.m.
“In the purest sense, the Womyn’s Center is and should be about the business of educating the university community regarding issues that affect women on the campus and globally,” said Forest Wortham, director of multicultural student programs and the Womyn’s Center. “Like the William A. McClain Black Culture House, the Womyn’s Center is not about the exclusion of anyone, it is about affirming who you are as a person.”
An integral part of the Wittenberg liberal arts mission since 1978, the center benefits from the combined efforts of Student Development and the Women’s Studies Program. The center functions to ensure moral responsibility and value development as it focuses on the issues, needs and concerns that affect women students, faculty and staff.
Although the interns and peer helpers who work at the center are trained to make referrals in crisis situations, the primary function of the facility is to provide women a place to “hang out” in an otherwise male culture. A television with VHS and DVD players allows for movie nights, and a computer, comfortable environment and a library are available for study sessions.
“The Women’s Studies Program is excited about the new Womyn’s Center,” said Nancy McHugh, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Women’s Studies Program. “We hope that it provides space for women on campus to talk about local campus issues as well as national issues affecting women. We also hope that it serves as a gathering and community building space on campus for all women.”
In addition to offering a welcoming space, the Womyn’s Center also sponsors events to educate the broader campus community, including the upcoming Women of Wittenberg panel at 8 p.m., Monday, March 28, in 105 Shouvlin Center. Co-sponsored with the Women’s Studies Program and Multicultural Programs, the panel will feature Concerned Black Students’ representatives Jalyn Parks of Columbus, Ohio, class of 2005, a sociology major, and Erika Calloway of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, class of 2005, an education major, along with representatives of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority Miranda Hoover of Schaumburg, Ill., class of 2005, biology major, and Lisa Nicholls of North Bend, Ore., class of 2007, geography major, all of whom will discuss relationships at Wittenberg, campus safety, media representation of women, body images and other topics.
Linda Lauffenburger, director of student counseling, and Winkie Mitchell, counselor, will serve as moderators, and Womyn’s Center interns Suzi Reishman of Charleston, W.Va., class of 2005, history major, and Nikki Kogan of Westfield, Ind., class of 2005, philosophy major, will facilitate the panel discussion.
The center will also feature a Movie Night at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays throughout April, and Lauffenburger will lead a discussion period following each movie.
In addition, the Womyn’s Center is helping the African-American Studies program and Women’s Studies programs bring Gwen Pough to Wittenberg to speak on feminism and hip-hop at 3:30 p.m. April 26, in the David L. Hobson Atrium of the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center. The title of her talk is “Shorty, Who You Rollin’ Wit?: The Marriage of Feminism and Hip-Hop.” Pough teaches in the Women’s Studies Program at Syracuse University.
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