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Fair advertises future women’s resource center

Jackie Kennedy

Choice USA Mills College Chapter hosted a Reproductive Justice and Sexual Health Fair at Adams Plaza Thursday to showcase what will be available in the women’s resource center they hope to provide this fall.

Last semester, Choice USA worked on issues such as Propositions 73 and 85, and now hopes to focus on campus issues. “Our whole club couldn’t believe that we didn’t have a resource center for women on campus,” junior and President of Choice USA Chapter Erin Mowlds said.

According to Choice USA, the resource center would provide free condoms and other safer sex supplies, information on reproductive health and sexuality, and information on all outside resources, as well as basic peer counseling and peer group support provided by trained Mills students.

Plans are up in air as to where the center will be located on campus. “We’re working with the administration right now to try and find space for the center, and most of the people we’ve talked to have been supportive,” Mowlds said, citing Mills College Health Program Director Cynthia Turner and Dean of Students Joanna Iwata among those showing support.

Iwata said that the new resource center is among new developments in the coming academic year. “[These changes are] in response to addressing the greater needs our students have articulated to us related to the different types of services we could provide them akin to a Women’s Resource Center at Mills,” Iwata said.

The resources would likely be provided by the sponsoring organizations who had booths at the event, Mowlds said.
Groups such as Pharmacy Access Partnership were among the organizations present.

“We want Mills students to know about the availability of important health services in pharmacies close to them,” Public Relations Specialist Ingrid Dries-Dauffner said.

The Tang Center currently provides emergency contraception, which is a current service Pharmacy Access Partnership tries to provide to all, but “If Mills students can’t go to the Tang center to get EC, they can go to to find a pharmacy that provides it near them,” Dries-Dauffner added.

The group NARAL Pro-Choice California also came out to show their support for the women’s resource center. “[Mowlds] works as an intern for NARAL, so she has access to education materials and staff to do workshops and outreach for Mills college for the resource center,” NARAL Pro-Choice California intern Brett Smith-Hams said.

The organization also hopes to provide the resource center with information about candidates, propositions, bills and other political movements for or against reproductive health rights. “We’re unique in the pro-choice movement in that we’re involved in the more political aspect of the movement,” Smith-Hams said.
Volunteers for the fair showed support. Freshwoman and Choice USA Co-Vice President Bethan Lamb said she’d volunteer for the women’s resource center next fall.
“It was weird to come to a women’s college and not have a resource center where we can get information about women’s reproductive health,” freshwoman Katie Northcott said.
Some students, like freshwoman Maggie Coggins, felt the fair was important because it increased awareness of a possible health center in general. “I feel like a resource center can be there, but if it’s not advertised it might as well not be. This is good advertising for it,” Coggins said, “I came to check it out and see what’ll be out there. I’m excited for it.”