Penn State Moves Towards Inclusiveness: Center for Women Students Changes Name

Photo by Caroline Rosini

The former Penn State Center for Women Students has changed its name to the Gender Equity Center in an effort to reflect inclusiveness, states a press release shared with the Penn State community on August 14. The name change comes after extensive discussion and significant input from staff, student groups and community partners.

The center was originally founded in 1985 by women students that sought an entity that supported them exclusively. Conversations with current students revealed confusion about the services the center provided and who could use them.

“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,” says Peggy Lorah, interim assistant vice president of diversity and inclusion for Student Affairs.

The services offered by the center will remain the same. Services include free and confidential counseling and advocacy to all students impacted by sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking and body image concerns. The center, which is a part of Student Affairs, provides educational programming throughout the year from classroom and group presentations to noteworthy speakers.

The Center for Gender Equity opens its doors to all students and provides an opportunity for the community to unite towards gender equity. Valley notes that the word “equity” describes ensuring that every person receives what they need to maintain health and well-being. “Equality” means that everyone receives the same things and, like equity, strives towards fairness. But, equality is only effective if equity is achieved first.

Join in the celebration of the Gender Equity Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, September 11, at the HUB-Robeson Center ground floor stage. The festivities will feature information, music, cake and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to donate non-perishable items to the Lion’s Pantry and listen to Jessica Valenti, Guardian US columnist and feminist activist, speak at 6:30 p.m. in Heritage Hall. Valenti’s talk is free and open to the public.

The Gender Equity Center is located in 204 Boucke Building.