Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #8: Support for UMBC Moms + Parents

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the history of the Women’s Center supporting working moms and student parents! 

Since our opening in 1991, the Women’s Center has continually been dedicated to UMBC mother’s and returning students. Long before it was mandatory by policy, the Women’s Center has had a lactation room in our space to supporting nursing moms returning back to work and school. Early in our history, we hosted monthly Mother’s Group meetings and served as a safe-haven for moms to come together sharing both their challenges and successes with each other as they navigated parenthood. Lasting friendships between participants formed and it was empowering to know moms on campus could connect and advocate for themselves and each other. The Women’s Center also hosted a list-serv for these parents to continue connecting with each other sharing resources like childcare, the most reliable sitters, and recommended pediatricians.

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Kiddos and moms hanging out in the Women’s Center in 2000

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Today, the Women’s Center no longer hosts a face-to-face mother’s group meeting but we do host an online forum via myUMBC for parents to connect with each other and share resources (such as the childcare resource guide the Women’s Center manages and updates from year to year). All UMBC parents are encouraged to join. We always welcome little ones into our space and at our events – especially if it means their parents get to spend time in the Women’s Center too! On snow days when UMBC is open and local school districts are closed, your bound to see a Little Retriever or two hanging out in our space with their parents in between their classes. The lactation room is always busy and we work hard to accommodate everyone’s hectic schedules. Many student parents also find a home and support through our Returning Women Students events, programs, and scholarships.  Women’s Center staff also serves as the staff advisor for the new Parents Club student organization. UMBC student parents are encouraged to join the group and can learn more here.

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A Little Retriever playing in the Women’s Center during a recent Parents Club meeting.

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The lactation room in the Women’s Center. Did you know we recently were awarded the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award?

What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!

Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #7: Documenting Our History at Critical Social Justice

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

It’s been a while since our last post because we were prepping for Critical Social Justice. Consequently, this week we’re featuring the awesome posters + a Prezi presentation student staff put together highlighting the Women’s Center history which was showcased at this week’s Critical Social Justice event addressing diversity and inclusion within higher education.

The posters are hanging up in the Women’s Center right now so stop by to check them out. In the meantime, here’s some photos of the posters Shira and Michael made and the link to Daniel’s Prezi Presentation. Prachi also made a really cool zine about our history that we’ll be adding to the 50th Anniversary time capsule that we’re working to get online. In the meantime, you can pick up a hard copy the next time you visit the Women’s Center.

Shira's poster explored the dynamics of 1991 - the year the Women's Center opened

Shira’s poster explored the dynamics of 1991 – the year the Women’s Center opened

Michael focused his poster on important Women's Center programs and their evolution of the past 25 years.

Michael focused his poster on important Women’s Center programs and their evolution of the past 25 years.

Prachi created a multi-page zine documenting the history of the Women's Center. Here's just one of the pages.

Prachi created a multi-page zine documenting the history of the Women’s Center. Here’s just one of the pages.

You can check out Dan’s cool Prezi presentation, Historical Foundations of the Women’s Center at UMBC, that explores the evolution of women’s centers and women’s movements from a holistic perspective which he was then able to connect to the programming and services our specific Women’s Center has offered over the years.

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A screen shot of one of Dan’s slides from  Historical Foundations of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!
Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #6: 25 Years of Events and Programs

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring a sampling of the various events and programs hosted in the Women’s Center over the past 25 years. 

 

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The very first Returning Women Students group took place in 1996. This group still is an critical part of the Women’s Center programming and has also morphed into a scholarship program.

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The Clothesline Project is an artivism display the Women’s Center exhibits during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Even in 2006, the Women’s Center was just as dedicated to telling the stories of survivors as they are today.

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Before the era of Netflix and Youtube, the Women’s Center (in co-sponsorship with other departments) held film series which spotlighted women’s voices and experiences.

 

 

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While our editing skills have definitely grown since 1991, we have remained dedicated to critical social justice and centering the voices of women. Be sure to join us for our Critical Social Justice Keynote speaker, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

 

What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!

Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now 5: 1991

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.
This week we’re exploring 1991 and the historical context of the year the Women’s Center opened its doors.

In 1991, Anita Hill stood up to sexual harassment in the workplace. Hill testified against her former employer, Judge Clarence Thomas, as he had perpetrated inappropriate sexual behavior towards her while she was working for him a few years prior. Thomas was being appointed as a Supreme Court Justice when Hill came forward, ending her silence and sparking a national interest in sexual harassment in the workplace. The majority male Senate went on to confirm Thomas, but this highly publicized trial brought the issue of sexual harassment into focus. After Hill stood up, more women came forward about their own experiences, and more measures were taken to prevent harassment in the workplace. This included places like higher education and our own UMBC.

Anita Hill testifying on Capitol Hill.

Anita Hill testifying on Capitol Hill.

After this event, many more women became involved in politics, and many believe this boom came about as a direct response to the nomination of Thomas. While this wasn’t the only reason the Women’s Center was founded on campus, the national attention being paid to women’s issues in the workplace certainly helped spark an interest in creating a safe space and resource for women on campus. This story of our beginning is captured in our 20th anniversary video about the Women’s Center.

Other 1991 noteworthy events include, the release of Thelma and Louise and the influential documentary Paris is Burning. Riot grrrl, the punk feminist music movement, also began in the early 90s, and ushered in a new format of women creating activist art and music at the same time the internet opened up to commercial use for the first time ever.

What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!

Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #4: Marketing and Publicizing Who We Are

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the marketing and publicity the Women’s Center has created and shared with the UMBC community over the past several years. 

Before smart phones and Snapchat, there were actual hard copy brochures and flyers (pre-PhotoShop) to help spread the word about the Women’s Center. Here’s some examples!

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Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #3: The Women’s Center Staff

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the Women’s Center staffs from over the years!

Meet the Women's Center staff from 1994-95!

Meet the Women’s Center staff from 1994-95!

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Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #2: Our Logo Evolution

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the evolution of the Women’s Center logo. 

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Brochure circa 1996

While it isn’t certain if the image on one of our earliest brochures served as the actual  logo for the Women’s Center, the image can be found from time to time on flyers and other promotional materials throughout the 1990s.

This image was later replaced by what we refer to today as the “hands logo.” The hands logo was inspired a 1999-2000 Undergraduate Research Project by  UMBC seniors Joy McLure and Nidhi Adya and advised by Dr. Tim Nohe called “Different Thread Interwoven Together.” We’ll be sharing more about the creation of this mural in another blog post to come soon.

While we loved the logo’s connection to the mural that is a signature piece in the Women’s Center lounge, we also heard feedback for change from many community members. Some thought the hands resembled finger painting and could limit people’s perception of the Women’s Center as a childcare center. Other’s expressed concern that the hands were a bit “grabby.” And, as discussed in the previous then vs. now post, the growth of the Women’s Center positioned us to be ready for a new logo that better captured the spirit of the work we do.  Continue reading