Women's Center

Director's Message

Greetings from the Women’s Center!

As the Director of the St. Cloud State University Women’s Center for the last 25 years, it’s been an honor to journey with so many others to lead feminist change on campus. Due to the passion and talent of our student and permanent staff over the past 25 years —and our many allies throughout campus—we have created positive and lasting change to improve the campus climate for women.

As we approach our 25th anniversary milestone, I am reminded how powerful and effective social justice work is when people come together for common or intersecting goals. Highlights of these accomplishments and contributions since we opened our doors include:

  • Created the Women on Wednesday noon-hour lecture series to highlight a diversity of women’s voices and issues that has stood the test of time. The Women’s Center has hosted more than 750 women from all walks of life, areas of expertise, diverse identities and life experiences over the past 25 years. In addition, we’ve hosted a list of distinguished women on campus, including Angela Davis, Lilly Ledbetter, Lani Guinier, Jennifer Baumgardner and Daisy Hernandez.
  • Developed and implemented the first truly mandatory educational program in the nation to prevent sexual assault on campus. If a student didn’t attend, they were not able to register for classes the following term. It worked! In 1995, St. Cloud State University received the Jeanne Clery Safe Campus Award, in part for this training initiative.
  • Initiated and supported activism on campus to foster change, holding our first protest and vigil six weeks after opening our doors. Whether the problem was rape and sexual assault, racism, homophobia, disability discrimination or sexism, we joined with others, organized, educated and spoke out.
  • Collaborated with LGBT faculty, students and staff to create a space within the Women’s Center dedicated to advocacy services and educational programming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people.
  • Hosted the 6th Annual National Student Conference on Campus Sexual Violence in 1997, with keynote by Andrea Dworkin, feminist author and outspoken critic of sexual politics.
  • Served more than 1,300 women (and men) who experienced rape, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual harassment.
  • Opened the first lactation/breastfeeding room on campus to help mothers who studied or worked at St. Cloud State to continue breastfeeding their baby.  Now there are five dedicated lactation spaces across campus.

This year, Women’s Center programming and events will recognize and celebrate these accomplishments, as well as our alum and other feminist activists over the last 25 years.

Although significant progress has been made in support of women’s rights and opportunities, so much work still exists. We hope that the Women’s Center is a place where students, faculty, staff and community members like you will be involved in order to continue these efforts. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Center and look forward to the next 25 years and beyond, we recognize the critical role students play in social and systems change. Check out the rest of our website to see the programs we offer and the types of issues we address. If you are interested in making us a part of your campus experience, give us a call, email, join us on Facebook or stop by our office located across from the Miller Center.

Jane Olsen

 

“I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.”

- Angela Davis