UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for Women Students has changed its name to Gender Equity Center to better reflect its diverse services and the students it serves. The decision was made after extensive discussions among staff, student groups and community partners, as well as researching and benchmarking against similar institutions.
All center services and programs will remain the same, but the name change will better communicate that the center is open to all students and provides opportunities for the entire community to work together to achieve gender equity. The center, which is part of Student Affairs, provides free and confidential counseling and advocacy to all students impacted by sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, body image concerns, and more, as well as educational programming throughout the year from classroom and group presentations to noteworthy speakers.
“The decision to change the name was not easy and we took this task incredibly seriously,” said Peggy Lorah, interim assistant vice president of diversity and inclusion for Student Affairs. “The center was originally founded in 1985 at the request of women students who sought a need to build an entity that supported women students in particular. When considering changing the name of the center, we worked to respect the center’s founding mission and devise a way that all our services and programs would continue to support students, yet also reflect the inclusiveness and sense of community of the center.”
After numerous conversations with students revealed confusion about what the center provided and who could use the services, benchmarking with other institutions across the country revealed a trend toward name changes that reflect a shared commitment to advancing gender equity. After consulting with numerous student groups and members of specific populations, the decision was made to incorporate Gender Equity Center as the center’s new name.
To celebrate the Gender Equity Center, a kickoff celebration will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at the HUB-Robeson Center ground-floor stage. The celebration will feature information about the office, music, cake and more. People also will be able to donate nonperishable food items to benefit the Lion’s Pantry. That evening, the Gender Equity Center will host Guardian US columnist and feminist activist Jessica Valenti at 6:30 p.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall. Valenti’s talk is free and open to the public.
The Gender Equity Center continues to be located in 204 Boucke Building. The center’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and students, faculty and staff can visit the new website at studentaffairs.psu.edu/genderequity to learn more, including how to request a program.