Women’s Center creates safe haven at MSU

The Women’s Center along with the Violence Awareness and Response Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato provides a safe haven for all students. 

The center has many services and resources that students can explore as well as weekly support groups and events. 

Some topics discussed involve gender inequalities and sexual and domestic violence, which can be a sensitive topic for some.

“We are beginner friendly and I’d say we are thorough when explaining more sensitive topics. We don’t assume that everyone knows, so we do explain things as if you are hearing it for the first time,” Shadow Rolan, Interim Director of the Violence Awareness and Response Program, said. 

Being an educator and confidential advocate who creates programs to bring awareness around sexual and domestic violence, Rolan also talks to students who may be experiencing those situations. 

Both resources are located in the Women’s Center who aim to create a safe space for students to gather and converse.

“We are here to answer any burning questions students might have and also provide products that may be uncomfortable to buy, like menstrual products or condoms,” Liz Steinborn-Gourley, Women’s Center Director, shared.

She is in charge of various tasks in the center, such as coaching student success and discussing financial support options including the Bridge to Benefits program. 

One of the newer perks on campus are the feminine products dispensed for free in bathrooms all around campus while the center also offer menstrual products for the month upon request. 

Other than that there is a lot of rewarding work in being able to make a positive impact on young adults.

“Working through the Women’s Center has really given me the opportunity to connect with students and be able to be in their corner for them as a positive support,” Steinborn-Gourley shared.

Being passionate about uplifting women has also been important for Rolan.

“Womens issues has always been a passion of mine to bring awareness to and highlight because I’ve seen that a lot of people don’t understand that we still have women’s issues in the world today,” said Rolan, “My passion came from wanting to educate people on how the world really works.” 

With plenty of events being hosted weekly, the demographic varies from week to week as the center is available for everyone.

“The Women’s Center is for everyone. We welcome everyone and we do have fruitful and uplifting conversations as well as a study and lounge,” Rolan said. “Although most of our services are geared toward women, we do like for men to pop their head in once every once in a while and want to learn something about a woman too.”

Some events that are coming up are BFF Friday, Topix and Chill: Sex Positivity and Sexism on Campus. Also to note the recurring events such as Brave Heart conversation circle and the Peer Educators Acting for Change & Equality program.

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