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The ODU Women’s Center was "the brainchild of Pat Hyer, assistant to the dean of the School of Continuing Studies." Although the federal grant proposal she developed was turned down, she had laid out the basic plans for the Center which eventually received joint funding from the School of General Studies and School of Continuing Studies.
The Center was "founded in October 1976 and is the oldest center on a Virginia college campus that has served students for over 30 years. Founded as part of a movement of new centers designed for adult women considering entry or reentry into education or the workforce, often after children were grown or after a divorce. Over the years, we have continued assisting women with personal and professional development." ( http://www.odu.edu/womenscenter)
The Center moved from the little house on "token row" to Webb University Center in November 1993, where it continues to provide information and support to women students through a variety of educational programs. It also provides advocacy to victims of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and sexual harassment on campus.
History of some of the key services and resources:
* The Center offered continuing education courses from 1978-1996. * The Center sponsored four Take Back the Night Marches prior to and including 1983, which included nationally recognized speakers Andrea Dworkin and Sonia Johnson and a Take Back the Night Rally in the Spring of 2005. * Every Woman’s Festival was sponsored annually from 1980-91. * Sexual Assault Free Environment ( S.A.F.E. ) Programs offered from 1990-present, including self-defense classes. * Women’s Institute for Leadership Development ( W.I.L.D. ) 1996-present. * The Center was involved in First Annual Womengineers Day in April 2001. * The Center produced a newsletter (which changed its name over the years), distributes various brochures and informational flyers, and participates in many student fairs on campus.
Approximately 1,000 items, including newsletters, event fliers, brochures, memos, annual reports, photographs, and newspaper clippings were given to the University Archives in July 2011 and added to an existing collection of papers through 2004. (See the Finding Aid).