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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s Center To Focus On Community And Diversity In 2001-2002

Coinciding with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the UMass Boston Women’s Center, which focuses on domestic violence, and many other women’s issues, hosted its annual open house on October 16.

Bridget Shaughnessy, coordinator of the Women’s Center, described the center as, “An informal place for people to hang out, get resources and information on various topics, and feel like they have some kind of community at this commuting school.” Some of her goals for this year are “to encourage students to become more involved with events on campus and get more faces in the center so people get to know each other and become part of the UMB community.”

The Women’s Center is open to men as well as women. Shaughnessy explained that she wants men to feel comfortable coming to the center for information or someone to talk to who might help them to understand the women they know better or help them with a problem. Shaughnessy stressed that the center “has many resources available to both men and women.”

The Women’s Center addresses and provides information and resources on a variety of issues including child care, domestic violence, contraception, and abortion rights. Shaughnessy explained that the center also has information on internships related to these topics and stated, “Many people do not realize that these are still active issues. They believe that these issues are in the past and women have come so far, but there is still a lot to be done.”

Shaughnessy hopes to bring UMB’s attention to domestic violence this year. The Women’s Center has worked with the coordinators of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month luncheon to help promote that event, and would like to raise interest in starting a “clothesline project” at the university. The clothesline project, which began in 1990 in Hyannis, MA, is a visual display that “bears witness against violence against women,” and is a clothesline with shirts representing abused women’s stories. The shirts tell the stories of survivors of domestic abuse, with the white shirts representing women and children who have died at the hand of domestic violence.

The Women’s Center also works with other on campus student centers to raise awareness for women’s issues. Shaughnessy explained, “There are women in each center, and I would like the Women’s Center to reflect the diversity at UMB.” One example is the October 23 event, in which the Women’s Center has coordinated with the Queer Student Union to show a movie on female relationships with a focus on lesbianism.

The center also connects with the Boston community through various events. Coming up on October 29 and 30, Shaughnessy hopes to draw people to the center for a Halloween event. Participants will make low-cost Halloween costumes, which will then be donated to families in the area who cannot afford to buy costumes for their children.

In November, the center will help with Thanksgiving dinner at Father Bill’s Place in Quincy by serving Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people at the shelter. Throughout the year, the UMB Women’s Center will continue working with other shelters, as well as women’s support groups in the area.

Shaughnessy concluded by explaining that through these “fun events for good causes” she wants people to know that the Women’s Center is a place where “everyone can feel like a part of their school by connecting with and learning from people with diverse backgrounds.”