Jan Deeds has been on campus working with the Women’s Center at UNL since 1978. She tells us the main goal of the organization is to provide opportunities on campus for everyone to have conversations about the concept of gender and the roles it plays in our lives. Loads of information about these important topics is available at the Women’s Center, as educating as many people as possible is how to progress with the fight for gender equity.
Don’t let the name fool you. The Women’s Center is an all-inclusive organization with open doors. Anyone that has a pulse is entirely welcome to visit the Women’s Center and engage in the educational environment it provides. It might be a misunderstanding for some students- it isn’t that males are not a part of the conversation, it is that women have primarily never had a designated area for women that is able to address and assist with personal issues.
The Women’s Center is very actively involved all over campus. Working with the Athletic Department, CAPS, the University Program Council, OASIS and even ROTC and organizing Women’s Week, the Women’s Center has had a broad reach to students. What is most important in working with the entire campus is to encourage the idea that students can make change. The Women’s Center is there to discuss topics that may not be spoken about anywhere else on campus. The organization lets voices and ideas thrive. Anything goes there, and that is incredibly important in this day and age on college campuses.
Jan Deeds became involved with the Women’s Center while she was a student at UNL herself. “At the end of my freshman year my mother died,” she told us. “I had two sisters and was living at home- no one ever asked how I was doing.” Jan then dropped out of school and later came back a few years later, enrolling in a Women’s Studies class as she returned. “A friend invited me to a meeting at the Women’s Center. They were looking for someone to write a newsletter. I had a role and felt like I belonged right away.”
The Women’s Center is located on the third floor of the Union in room 340. Operating during regular business hours, the office is always open and welcome to any student seeking information, counseling or just an all-around good conversation. The Women’s Center has a positive impact for UNL by working collaboratively to provide education, resources, outreach and advocacy to help build and sustain a socially just campus community that is welcoming and inclusive of all people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expression.
Go ahead and stop by sometime, you may learn something about yourself.