On Wednesday night at Hardy House, three of the College’s women’s groups met to discuss a possible merger and structural changes to their organizations. One possibility would be consolidation of the Women’s Center, the Women of Color Coalition and the Women of Color Research Center (WCRC) to form the Women’s Center. Under the merger, the three groups would hope to raise their membership and combine their resources.
“The Women’s Center is committed to providing space and programming tailored to the diverse needs of women at Williams and the community at large,” Dilia Ortega ’13, co-chair of the Women’s Center. “The Women’s Center is a women’s group with feminist principles.”
The Women’s Center had a particularly difficult fall, facing a drop in attendance in its sponsored events as well as a lack of new members. The WCRC also experienced some of the same difficulties with waning membership. The meeting on Wednesday allowed the groups to discuss some of the problems they have been experiencing with input from the general student population, as well as to discuss the future of women’s groups on campus.
“While the Women’s Center has been pretty strong in the past few years, recently, it has gotten harder to find people within what can sometimes be an apolitical climate,” Ortega said.
The structure of the new Women’s Center is currently made up of a number of committees representing various organizations. The relationship between these committees is another aspect of the merger that is still being worked out. Ideas for general improvement ranged from a proposal about branding the Women’s Center with a new purpose to suggestions about strategies to get more underclassmen engaged with the organization during First Days.
Although the complexity of combining three groups with different goals and messages was apparent, the meeting highlighted how dedicated these groups are to improving their presence on campus. Despite the difficulties, the groups are working together to consider a new Women’s Center that meets the goals of all three groups and serves the campus.
“The Women’s Center is revisiting our constitution in order to rebrand ourselves and move forward,” Ortega said. “We are planning events throughout Winter Study tailored to first-years, including a frosh women’s dinner, weekly movie nights and a rebranding party. We will be busy over Winter Study preparing for a great Women’s History Month schedule for this upcoming March.”