Mugs, muffins and a welcome back

Organizations, groups and communities have started to welcome back students and members. The spring semester has officially started and what better way to begin with a muffin and a brand new mug? 

The Women’s Center and the Violence Awareness and Response Program, also known as VARP, have collaborated to organize the welcome event Mugs and Muffins where students were invited to bring old mugs and trade them in for their very own Women’s Center and VARP mug. The gathering was accompanied with a selection of coffee, tea and, of course, muffins. 

Rachel Maccabee, the director of VARP, said the collaboration with the Women’s Center director Liz Steinborn-Gourley was a welcome event for both returning and new students to help them refocus on school and enjoy the comfortable environment. 

“Liz and I were talking and we were trying to come up with a really fun, nice idea for winter welcome week. Even if it’s your third or fourth year here, you might not be aware of, or you might not have enjoyed or participated in, all the offices and services that we offer,” Maccabee said, “This is a chance for both transfer students and people returning to campus to come and get to know the Women’s Center. Sometimes when you have a holiday, you get some silly mugs that maybe aren’t your favorite so you can bring a mug and then we will give you a mug with the Women’s Center and VARP logo on it to encourage people to reuse mugs and not use styrofoam to introduce you to the Women’s Center.”

Overall, Maccabee said the mug exchange serves a greater purpose for students. Exchanging old mugs for new can represent a person’s individual growth. Both the Women’s Center and VARP offer many resources for students and can help them develop skills and receive help throughout the course of the year.

“I believe that we need to be the change we want to see in the world. And I think that it’s silly to use styrofoam over and over again. So one it really just represents that you can come as you are and enjoy the cups that the school provides.” She said, “You can bring in something old and turn it into something new. Because that’s who we are as we go to college. In places like the Women’s Center or the LGBT Center or your athletics team or whatever it is can be really transformational and transformative. So it’s a chance for every single one of us to come in and get to know who we are.” 

Students who came to the center carrying old mugs also enjoyed talking with fellow students. 

“I like it. I really like how they did the mug exchange. I thought it was a good idea. I come for different events throughout the semester, but not just to like usually sit here. It’s usually if there’s an event. Everyone’s super nice here.” Third-year student Annelies Vandeputte said. 

In addition to the upcoming events, collaborations and programs that the Women’s Center has to offer, Macabee said the center has self-care products and aid that can benefit a student in certain situations. 

“If you’re looking for roommate mediations, Liz and I both do high touch advising. And if you’re just looking for someone to talk through some problems, I can help you with conflict coaching and be confidential,” she said. 

They also offer Bridge to Benefits, lactation support, free menstrual supplies and birth control.

“As well as helping people get assistance for medical care, food assistance, snacks, we can direct you to the food pantry,” she said. “We like to say at the Women’s Center, we have what you need. If you can’t find it elsewhere, come here and if I don’t have the answer, I will find the person who does.”

For information, visit www.mnsu.edu/womenscenter or stop by the center at CSU 218 to learn more about their resources and VARP. 

Write to Anahi Zuniga at anahi.zuniga@msu.edu

Header Photo: The Women’s Center and Violence Awareness and Response Program (VARP) welcomed back MSU students with a mug exchange, where students could trade any old mug for a new one with the organizations’ logos on it. (Nate Tilahun/The Reporter)

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