“A few years ago the Volunteer Center transitioned to the Center for Community Engagement and Service, and so that’s a similar move that we’re hoping to make [as] we move from something that’s identity based to something that’s mission based,” Smith said. “Our programs don’t reflect female exclusive values. A variety of programs look at issues that are gender based and we want a name that reflects the programs and the work that we’re already doing so there’s cohesion between the two.”
A few suggestions that reflect that mission have been names like the “Center for Gender Equity,” “The Gender Equity Resource Center” and “The Gender Equity and Sexuality Resource Center.” Although the Women’s Center is changing its name, Smith hasn’t ruled out having “women” in the title.
The next open forum will occur Friday October 9 in the Anderson University Center room 171 for the PLU community to help decide what the new name should be. As the Women’s Center works in the PLU community, they want to make sure the community helps to decide on a name that will serve best.
“We wanted to establish forums and hold them somewhat early in the fall semester so we can involve the PLU community in something that we see as a significant change for the Women’s Center,” Smith said.
That significant change is also in part due to the changes made in activism since the Women’s Center began. Although they feel that the title “Women’s Center” has served it well in honoring changes in womens and gender studies, changing ideas of what it means to be a woman with the emergence of trans rights is something they’d also like to reflect in changing the name. Along with that, the center is also thinking about what their physical space says about what they do and their focus on gender equity and inclusivity.
The Women’s Center would like for anyone available to attend and be a part of the renaming process and also provide suggestions of how the community would like that process to go. Although suggestions have already been made, Smith says they have no specific name already in mind.
There’s a real opportunity for the community to help the Women’s Center meet its needs through the name change.
Hear more from the Women’s Center staff: