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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New coordinator reveals her plans for the Women’s Center

Students+interacting+in+the+Womens+Center
Students interacting in the Women’s Center

Michaela Ironuma, the Women’s Center coordinator at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has outlined her plans for the newly reopened center. Ironuma held the center’s first meeting of the year on Oct. 7. 
Ironuma, a senior double majoring in management and social psychology, became the coordinator of the center at the end of May. 
“I will be updating the resource brochures, amending the center’s charter, reorganizing the center’s library of feminist literature, [and] creating a volunteer hours system, amongst other changes,” she said.
“I am also working to strengthen the center’s relationships with other organizations and departments on and off campus. I would like to establish a strong foundation for the center, so that in the future it can run more efficiently and effectively.”
As coordinator, Ironuma said, she wants to cover a broad range of women’s issues, including motherhood, sexuality, health, domestic violence, and menstruation through various mediums.
She said the center might screen a documentary about “gendercide,” form a workshop on body image, and introduce social justice issues through other screenings, dialogues, workshops, theater performances and more. She reminded the university community that “we, as students, do not operate only as individuals, but as integral pieces of a larger social body.”
Ironuma plans to advertise the center more because she thinks many students do not know the center exists. She recommends people join the Women’s Center Facebook group to receive notifications of center news and events.
“The overall aim of this initiative is to maximize exposure in order to increase the use of the space and its resources and to get a larger population to engage in dialogues concerning women, gender, and sexuality,” she said.
Ironuma said that everyone is welcome to join the Women’s Center, including men. She described the center as “a place to express yourself, your thoughts, [and] your concerns, and [to] learn from others.”
The Women’s Center is a student-run nonprofit that works to facilitate the advancement of women through insightful programming and a variety of resources. The center offers crisis and health brochures, connections to crisis support, and a comfortable meeting place for members of the UMass Boston community.
The Women’s Center’s last coordinator graduated in December of 2012, and the center had no coordinator during the following spring. Student Activities staff told the Mass Media that the center closing was planned far in advance, a move to avoid having to train a new coordinator over the winter. 
Regulars at the center insisted that they were told the center would be open for spring as late as December, that several of them had been allowed to apply for the position of coordinator, and even that the staff in Student Activities had at first claimed that nobody applied for the job before announcing that the closing had been planned all along. 
Eventually, a petition was started online and then-Vice Chancellor Patrick Day committed to hiring a new coordinator as soon as possible.