Women’s Research and Resource Center
The 2011/12 academic year brings many changes to the CSUN campus, and the Women’s Research and Resource Center continues to evolve along with it. The most significant change at the WRRC is the installation of a full-time director to oversee daily operations and ongoing programming. As the first full-time staff director, I foresee great things on the horizon.
Well into our 37th year, there are plenty of lessons we’ve learned, both about what has made us great and what has held us back. As a part-time director, I was able to maintain our usual goings-on: a space for students to use daily; thoughtful and empowering programming; and collaboration with various departments and student organizations. That said, our limited resources allowed us to maintain only these core services. As full-time director I hope to create change—visualizing, developing, and actualizing innovative programming to bring greater awareness of the WRRC and women’s issues to our campus and the surrounding community.
But just as the Women’s Center is evolving, so are our students, presenting a great challenge with which I’m hoping faculty and staff can help. Our momentum is hampered by a two-year cycle of engaged student activists. We capture their attention and energy, they show up, they participate, they organize, and they inspire. And then, just as we begin to see the fruits of all their labor, they graduate.
Of course, this is what we want: graduating students! However, the downside of this is that student organizations and centers like ours must work arduously and continuously to captivate the next generation of student activists. We engage in aggressive outreach: classroom announcements, tabling on the quad, and frequent messaging that maximizes use of social networking outlets. This year, we are going a step further. This year, we are going to make phone calls to anyone who signs up on our interest sheets. This year, we are going to call each and every one of our Gender and Women’s Studies majors and minors. This year, we are pulling out all the stops to engage students in our mission.
Nevertheless, we recognize that there’s only so much we are capable of doing on our own, and that’s where you come in. Have you talked to your students about the importance of campus involvement? Have you encouraged them to take part in on-campus extracurricular activities? Have you shared the benefits of joining a student group? Have you considered offering extra credit for volunteer work? Certainly, students are here because of CSUN’s academic reputation, but the social and developmental components of student life can be equally rewarding.
I often hear it said that “CSUN is a commuter school,” but that implies its students have no sense of community. Ask any Women’s Center volunteer if they see CSUN as a commuter school and s/he will emphatically attest that the WRRC serves to create a cohesive community, one where students want to “stick around” long after class lets out. Most have limited time to volunteer, but for students who manage to squeeze in even an hour at the WRRC, CSUN starts to feel a little less like a sprawling campus and a little more like a good friend’s living room where good things happen!
— Submitted by Shira Brown
For more information about the Women’s Research and Resource Center:
Call us at: 818-677-2780
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