OHIO Women's Center embraces community involvement
While the Women’s Center is located on the OHIO campus, the center embraces community participation in their activities and seeks to provide a safe space for people to learn and connect with one another.
The center’s mission is to act as a catalyst promoting awareness, education, and advocacy about women, gender, and diversity at Ohio University and in its surrounding communities. Much of their programming is intentionally designed to reinforce this goal by providing opportunities for OHIO students and Athens community members to connect with one another and learn together.
One program that fosters relationships between OHIO students, staff, faculty and community members is the Mentoring Women Program, in which mentees are paired with a female mentor in their personal and professional fields of interest and meet throughout the semester.
Sam Miller, a current mentor through the program, says, “Finding my mentee through the Women’s Mentoring Program has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my professional career. I initially wasn’t sure what I could offer my mentee because she was already on the path to success, but from our time together I’ve gained another set of eyes and ears to bounce ideas off of and have been able to help her as she navigates college life. I really encourage anyone from the community to join this program! I’ve not only gained a mentee for a year, but a friend for life.”
Community members interested in becoming a mentor can find the application form on the program’s webpage.
Additional events and programs hosted by the Women’s Center include the ALAANA+ Women’s Leadership Program, International Women’s Coffee Hour, Women of Color Who Paved the Way, Say Her Name and many others surrounding the health and safety of women. Women’s Center staff are also available to facilitate a number of interactive workshops or presentations for organizations in the community and on campus.
“I think one thing that's always really exciting to talk to community members about is, that while we're called the Women's Center, it's a bit of a misnomer because, while we look at women's experiences as one lens, we look at look at them globally, right?” MaryKathyrine Tran, the Interim Director of the Women’s Center said. “There are many different types of ways women have experiences, situations that come up, needs that they have, so we really do encourage everybody to come utilize our services and learn more about gender in this way.”
A welcoming and inclusive atmosphere is embedded within all of the Women’s Center programming. Over the course of the pandemic, many of events have been presented in a virtual or a hybrid format to allow people to continue to safely engage with the Women’s Center, particularly community members for whom coming to campus can be a barrier.
Community connections are a valuable part of upholding the Women’s Center mission. Tran shared that she recently talked to a community member about getting student organizations involved with the Women’s Center to discuss women of color and leadership in the community.
“[We want] people to know that we are great partners,” said Lisa Flowers-Clements, interim assistant director of the Women’s Center. “We are always willing to help wherever we can, and partner wherever we’re able to.”
For Tran, one of the best parts of her job is being a resource connection for a network of people that collaborate to improve relationships and education. She said, “I think that that's super, super exciting--to be someone who can help bridge the community and campus together.”
Throughout the month of March, the Women’s Center is hosting a variety of events to celebrate Women’s History Month. MaryKathyrine encourages people to attend and take the time to learn about topics and programming throughout the semester on their own time if they are interested. A list of their upcoming events open to the general public can be found on the University Calendar.