Weber State University’s Women’s Center has been empowering and helping women for 35 years. This year, the center is under new management and is taking on bigger projects.
One new project for the Women’s Center is accepting art submissions from students and community members. The goal is to highlight work done by women in the community, according to the newly appointed director of the center, Stephanie McClure.
“We want to give them a space to show their art,” she said. There isn’t a specific deadline for the work. The Women’s Center is willing to look at new art pieces throughout the year.
“If people have anything that is particular to women or social justice issues in their artwork, that would be great, but it can be anything at this point,” McClure said. The only thing required is that the art comes into the Women’s Center ready to be hung and displayed.
Changes for the center this year will be focused on three initiatives, McClure said.
The Safe at Weber program is a new education initiative to prevent campus crime. It can be found on students’ eWeber account.
Starting this year, universities that receive federal funding are required to provide a prevention program for students, McClure said. The Women’s Center has been given the task of doing that work at Weber State.
The new program starts with an online training session called Haven training, which the university has purchased. According to McClure, it takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete the initial session, with a 15 minute follow-up session.
“That’s the base of the program, and we’re trying to get students to want to be engaged with it,” she said. The center has set up incentives for those who finish Haven training by August 31. Students can win an iPad Air 2 if they finish in time.
The new peer education program allows students to go through training this semester, and by the time spring semester starts, those who finished the training will start doing workshops on campus.
“We’ll be specifically working on bystander intervention,” McClure said. The idea of bystander intervention is to build confidence for students to act when they see dangerous situations.
Along with those projects, McClure wants to continue working on women’s leadership and empowerment.
“The Women’s Center has historically done a lot with women’s leadership and empowerment, but we’ll continue to do that,” she said. She aims to collaborate with other groups on campus as well as the Ogden community to work on this initiative.
According to McClure, the biggest push from the Women’s Center will be on social justice.
“We’re not just focusing on women’s issues by themselves, because we know that there is no single issue,” she said. “You can’t separate various identities, so we’ll look at all of the intersections of identity and how that influences different issues.”
Not only does the Women’s Center have many projects in mind, but it’s a place where students can go to feel comfortable.
“One of my favorite things about the Women’s Center is that it’s my happy place on campus,” Beth Greenhalgh, the violence prevention lead coordinator, said. “The bulk of people who work here are students, so the hurdles I’m having to jump over, they’ve also jumped over.”
The center can be used to meet new people, or to receive advisement on different subjects like FAFSA or class decisions. “A lot of students tell us that they’re grateful for assistance from the Women’s Center because we’re there when they need additional help,” Greenhalgh added. “We don’t give them a resource and send them on their way—we walk them through it.”