The Best Nest: The Women’s Studies Center

Eliza Graham

The Center for Women’s Studies, located in the basement of East Hall, is one of the most welcoming spaces on Colgate’s campus. The d?ecor of the center conveys the sense of trust and affirmation that so many students feel in this place. Quilted banners, pi?natas and neon-colored bulletin boards line the walls. This space’s layout and design make it the ideal place for students and faculty to discuss a wide range of feminist topics. The Center for Women’s Studies is most well known on campus for its Brown Bag lunches every Tuesday. However, many also know that the space is multi-functional and home to many more events. The center houses classrooms where Women’s Studies courses, as well as courses in other disciplines, are taught. There is a library with two computers and a wide array of books on feminist-related topics. The heart of this space, though, is the lounge, where Brown Bags and other large gatherings are held. This room is filled with couches, chairs and tables, and is available for students to use both for studying and relaxing. The Center for Women’s Studies is a space whose physical organization, as well as the events it holds, are conducive to productive conversations about affecting positive change on Colgate’s campus and beyond. Publications Intern for the Women’s Studies Center Lindsey Skerker was happy to share her thoughts on the center.

1. How does the center reflect the style/personality of Women’s Studies?

First of all, it’s easily accessible and central in its location up the hill. That’s a strength, that we’re close to the academic buildings and the Coop. There’s a handicap accessibility ramp, so professors who can’t teach in other buildings can teach here, and it’s also good for students who are injured. The center is open, in all senses of the word. Everyone here is open-minded and has an open heart.

2. Tell me about one particularly important item in the center.

More so than an item, the most important event every week at the center is the Brown Bag lunch every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. There’s a different topic every week. Sometimes people come if they like the topic, have a friend on the panel or know a professor on the panel. Regulars come every week. There’s this Women’s Studies community that has formed from that. I can’t think of any other event on campus that has that kind of following. We average around 100 people per Brown Bag. In fact, this summer, we’re renovating the center to enlarge the central room, to accommodate the large numbers of students and faculty coming to events such as the Brown Bags.

3. Where/from whom do you get your inspiration?

There are seven Women’s Studies interns. We’re each responsible for a bulletin board in the center, so we can take our backgrounds and make the boards whatever we want. Some of the current topics featured on the boards include health, positive sexuality and feminist movies.