“We’re a part of a support system that’s outside the classroom,” said Grace M. Hill, Director of the Kutztown University Women’s Center.
Despite existing for 23 years and being situated in Old Main, one of the most frequently visited buildings on campus, Hill said the biggest challenge to the Women’s Center is still “struggling with getting people to realize we’re here.” Part of the problem has always been that the Women’s Center is seen by many as an exclusively female organization.
When asked if there are any misconceptions about the Women’s Center, Hill replied “Some people think we’re men-bashers, and we’re not.”
Despite the name, the Women’s Center isn’t just for women. They have a close relationship with another campus group, Men for Equality Now, started by a former Women’s Center intern, in which men attempt to put an end to relationship violence through education and discussion.
“Very few men are perpetrators,” said Hill, “but those few can color how people see all men.”
Sexual assault and relationship violence are obvious concerns for the Women’s Center, but Hill stresses that they’re not the sole concerns. The Women’s Center provides a number of services to the campus, including internships and a lending library, which Hill was quick to point out contains some feminist texts, but is not exclusively tailored to that subject.
Having been in place for more than 20 years, Hill said the Women’s Center has evolved since its inception.
“We’ve expanded,” said Hill, “we’re more involved with academic programs, internships.”
The goal of the organization is much more geared toward education than the finger waving most people picture. Says Hill: “There’s a part of your life where you’re not in class, and that’s what we’re there for.
By Ben Gross