The Women’s Resource Center at the University of Colorado will celebrate its 15th birthday this fall, but the journey to this point began long before 1994.
After confronting paternalistic treatment (curfews, chaperone requirements, etc..) in the ’60s, laboring for a women’s studies department in the ’70s and struggling to become visible as respected faculty and staff members in the ’80s, CU women proposed a women’s resource center to meet the dynamic needs of women on campus.
In 1993, the CU Student Union approved a referendum initiated by a coalition of women across various identities to fund a resource center. The next year, the Women’s Resource Center hired its first director and gained “office space” (a desk) in the back of the Volunteer Clearing House Office.
Eventually the Women’s Resource Center, initially run almost entirely by devoted volunteers, moved into University Memorial Center Room 416 and began to be a visible and effective presence on campus.
Over the next 15 years, the Women’s Resource Center began taking note of needs that were not being fully met for women on campus, and created seven foundations (Action, Celebration, Leadership, Learning Community, Social Justice, Spirit of Collaboration and Support) upon which to build programs, events and peer groups.
The resource center implemented several annual programs, including Sexpressions, a variety show to celebrate women’s sexuality; a Gender SpeakOut, to provide space for women and men to directly address sexism on campus; and Women Who Make a Difference, a ceremony to honor women who impact our lives.
In response to an unmet need for professional women performers on campus, the Women’s Resource Center hosted various performers on campus, including spoken word artists Sonya Renee, Andrea Gibson and La Bruja.
The Women’s Resource Center — now affectionately nicknamed “The Dub” — currently employs three permanent staff members and eight student staff, and is upheld by more than 20 active volunteers who work to put on diverse programs to honor and support women at all intersections of identity.
Integrating the many years of hard work CU women have done, and paying attention to always emerging needs, the Women’s Resource Center continues to support women at CU and in the community.
The Women’s Resource Center currently hosts a few weekly programs, including Kitchen Table, a community for women of color (5 to 7 p.m., second and fourth Tuesdays of the month); QWIC, a casual social group for queer identified women (6 to 8:30 p.m., first and third Wednesdays); and Bitchcraft, a gathering for the purpose of artistic creation (5 to 6:30 p.m., first, third and fifth Tuesdays).
From 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 14, the Women’s Resource Center will officially commemorate her 15th birthday at the Koenig Alumni Center with a Quincé celebration that will include food, music and speakers.
Our Quincé will honor the Women’s Resource Center’s movement into an established center, one that has matured in purpose and advocacy, a community that works diligently to create a campus environment where all women can thrive.
CU senior Julieanne Combest is the program coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center.