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 Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


The WRC: a place where women thrive
by Melanie O. Massengale

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is a gathering place for members of the CU-Boulder community to converse, pursue creative efforts, learn leadership skills, plan events or simply interact. Much of the center’s work involves activism focused on diversity and social justice issues. While women’s centers in the past had stressed safety and security, the WRC looks to the future and beyond its own doors.

“We need to be across campus where policies are being set and decisions are being made about gender equity and social justice issues,” said Barbara Kulton, director of the WRC for the past six years and a staff member for eight. “We’re out there on diversity committees including CACMA, CCW, Student Affairs Diversity Committee and the Sexual Assault-Sexual Harassment task force, and our students are providing leadership on campus.”

Four years ago, Kulton began exploring the purpose and role that the WRC would serve in years to come. “To find out what people wanted, we engaged in a nontraditional process with students, faculty and staff to hear their stories, rather than use a typical linear, strategic planning model to get information,” she said. Using focus groups with a facilitator, Kulton asked participants for information related to the WRC—what it had done well, and what would help the center to move forward in its service to the campus community. “What we heard was that it was time to take it up a notch and create a campus environment where women thrive,” she said. The end product of the re-visioning process is The Seven Foundations, a purpose statement encompassing the goals, objectives and values of the WRC.

The Seven Foundations include action, celebration, leadership, learning community, social justice, spirit of collaboration and support. WRC activities embody these values through events such as Women Who Make a Difference, in which faculty, staff and students nominate and honor CU-Boulder or local community women who have made significant contributions to the university or who have helped others to succeed. “This is a student idea, and it is one of my favorite events,” said Kulton.

Students working at the WRC are enthusiastic about the opportunities that the center offers. Graduate Student Outreach Coordinator Maria Genao-Homs, a master’s candidate in broadcast journalism, said her experience with the WRC has enhanced her education. ”The center is very much community-driven,” she said. “We work collaboratively with organizations and individuals and get professional training, and become more aware of the community around us.”

Windy Alarcon, WRC’s special projects coordinator and a senior majoring in psychology and ethnic studies, came to the WRC two years ago via the Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority. “WRC has broadened my horizons,” she said. “When I started working there I was open to new ideas but not knowledgeable. At the WRC, I began learning leadership skills.”

Meanwhile, Kulton continues to enjoy the partnership she has forged with her student staff and with students in various organizations throughout the CU-Boulder community, while helping them coordinate events such as the upcoming Miramontes Music and Arts Festival. “I feel hopeful and inspired by the students I work with,” she said. “My role is to broker systems so that students can bring forward their ideas on what needs to happen. It’s a partnership.”

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Disability Services advocates awareness, gains allies

The WRC: a place where women thrive

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