The Appalachian State University Women’s Center is committed to “educating the Appalachian community, eliminating gender discrimination, promoting social, economic, and political equity, and empowering women and girls” according to their website.
Sydney Hobart, senior biology major, volunteers at the Women’s Center as a desk shift volunteer.
“The Women’s Center was a place that I stumbled upon in my first year here, and then I just never left because I found a lot of community here,” Hobart said.
Desk shift volunteers have many different responsibilities, according to Hobart. She explained that volunteers are responsible for both maintaining the integrity of the space offered in the Women’s Center as well as being a resource for people who may have questions. They are also trained in how to react to crisis situations.
The Women’s Center, which is located on International Hallway of the Plemmons Student Union, offers a variety of resources to App students.
“Mostly we are here as a resource to direct people to other places,” Shea McCullough, senior English major and desk shift volunteer said. “We’re technically a university-funded organization, so a lot of our purpose is to be here as a space for people, but we do have policies on helping people in crisis. We are able to direct them to the Counseling Center, Wellness and Prevention Services, Student Conduct, the Dean’s Office, things like that.”
Students who volunteer at the Women’s Center also participate in a “tri-center training” each semester for crisis situations and goal-setting with both the Multicultural Center and the LGBT Center.
Hobart shared that a struggle the Women’s Center faces is being able to get out of their “bubble” of ideas, as many of the volunteers and students who spend time in the Women’s Center have very similar beliefs, though they do work to create the welcoming and inclusive environment they try to maintain.
“It’s a space for anybody and everybody for anything. You don’t have to come in here just to grab some fliers or to grab a condom or menstrual products,” Hobart said. “You can come in just to hang out, you can come in to talk, you can ask questions, you can just come and sit. It’s kind of a catch-all for anyone and everyone.”
The Women’s Center will be hosting events surrounding rape culture the week of April 23-27, which is Rape Culture Awareness Week.
Story by Jackie Park
Photo by Jackie Park
Feature photo caption: The Women’s Center, located in International Hallway in Plemmons Student Union, is a great place for students get for free condoms, menstrual products or just to hang out.