U-M-Flints Womens Center, designed to meet the needs of the campuss 3,900 women students, will open Sept. 23 in the University Pavilion.
We are very grateful for the support of the chancellor and the many students, faculty and staff who are helping us inaugurate an exciting era at U-M-Flint, says Lora Purcell, director of academic advising. (The Womens Center is affiliated with the Adult Resource Center, which is part of the Academic Advising Center.)
Poetry, music, speeches and refreshments will be included in the opening event, set for 46 p.m. in the Pavilions second-floor atrium.
Poetess Melba Boyd, director of the African-American Studies Program, will read from her work, as will English Prof. Sybil Kein, poet and chronicler of Creole poetry and music.
Jacqueline Zeff, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will deliver welcoming remarks. Music will be provided by Robbie Grier, assistant director of admissions.
The Womens Center houses a small library of classics in womens literature, sociology, health, politics and economics. It sponsors day and evening womens support groups, provides administrative support for the Womens History Month Committee, offers academic counseling, is an advocate for womens concerns on campus, and is a liaison among womens on- and off-campus groups.
The center is staffed by coordinator Jan Worth; Peggy Holcomb, an adviser; and secretary Beverly Williams.
Worth hopes the role the Center plays will be shaped by needs as they arise. She would like to see support for research on womens lives offered by the center.
Efforts to form a center began several years ago when representatives from the Womens History Month Committee proposed an office to address the concerns of women students as their numbers on campus became more and more apparent in the mid- and late 1980s.
Many of the economic ills that have hurt society over the past decade have hit women and families hardest of all, Worth says. That, in part, accounts for the marked increase in women returning to school. In many cases, education is the only hope for improving womens lives, and the lives of their children.
The Flint campus recently has undertaken a number of initiatives addressing womens concerns:
Approval of a minor in womens and gender studies.
Subsidized child care through the YWCA.
Womens History Month celebration each March.
Formation of a campuswide Womens Council, prompted by President James J. Duderstadts initiative encouraging study of the status of women.
Thanks to campuswide support for womens issues from faculty, staff and the administration at all three campuses, our commitment to supporting women students is becoming concrete. Now we have a Womens Center to grow from. Its a wonderful beginning, Purcell says.