Both a right and a need, Mills women’s sexual health has been a high profile topic since Cyrus and Susan Mills first uttered the words “equal education.” Since its establishment, Mills has yet to designate a space to provide for women’s healthcare. Finally, the long awaited movement to establish a Women’s Resource Center on campus has arrived.
Project W, otherwise known as the effort to open a Women’s Resource Center at Mills, will create a student-run, sustainable on-campus space that provides confidential, safe access to information and resources concerning women’s health and safety. Aside from providing peer counseling, support groups, and educational events, the center will supply Mills women with resources ranging from reproductive rights to information on all local doctors and clinics.
The first effort to open a women’s resource center at Mills was in the spring of 2007 by associates from Choice USA’s Mills Chapter. This attempt was inspired by the women’s colleges across the country that already possess fabulous, bustling centers for women’s wellness. In fact, Mills makes up one of only five women’s colleges that do not have a Women’s Resource Center on campus. Better stated, 87 percent of women’s colleges across the nation have a women’s health center on campus, according to the Princeton Review. Even Sweet Briar College-with a student population of 580-provides women’s health exams (PAP tests) at their on-campus women’s health center.
Senior and President of Choice USA at Mills, Erin Mowlds, voices the benefits of having a Women’s Resource Center on campus, stating “sexual health educator programs and women’s health resource centers have been extremely successful at other institutions and have added to the overall knowledge and empowerment of the students and community.”
Why can’t the fantasy of an on-campus Women’s Resource Center become a Mills woman’s reality? Like many great battles for justice, politics is a colossal giant that must be conquered first. The history of trying to open a Women’s Resource Center at Mills is a long one: repeated proposals and presentations were met with little or no response.
Despite the willingness of local organizations to donate supplies, resources, and trainings to our resource center, the administration has resisted allotting the Women’s Resource Center a room at Mills. Fortunately, a year following its initial proposal, Project W gained some ground. In March of 2008, the ASMC granted the Women’s Resource Center committee special funding to begin the prestigious “Traveling Women’s Resource Center.”
One can only hope that baby steps will eventually lead to the Women’s Resource Center that Mills women rightfully need. Or, is the old adage about hope a 21st century definition of a cop out? We urgently need a permanent Women’s Health Resource Center on Mills campus that we and future Mills women can visit. Our demands, desires and needs must be heard. Project W is on the rise-feel free to gossip.