The PSU Women’s Resource Center will move from the Smith Memorial Student Union basement to the Montgomery Building lounge this winter break.
Aimee Shattuck, the coordinator of the resource center, has been planning the move since May. The goal was to find a space that met all the center’s needs and would allow for growth in the coming years. More than 20 people work at the center, the majority of which are volunteers. The new location would need to include enough room for a library, reception area, meeting space and a private, confidential office space. The Montgomery lounge meets these needs.
“If a student comes into the center in crisis we want to make sure they feel comfortable and safe by having a private place to talk,” Shattuck explains.
The staff of the Women’s Resource Center held a public meeting to discuss the move. The majority agreed that moving to Montgomery Lounge was the best option due to size, accommodations and better visibility on the Park Blocks.
“[The new location] will be close to proposed family housing,” Shattuck said. “People commented on how nicely the Women’s Resource Center fit with the history of [the Montgomery Building] as the first women’s residences in Portland which helped working women moving to the city.”
Currently, the center is in the basement of the Smith Center in Room 28. The space is small with partitions and, though it’s a welcoming site for any PSU student, it could serve the campus better in a larger and more accessible space.
Shattuck has set up two office spaces, a reception area and a small library with a waiting area for visitors in the current space. “At times it feels as though we are competing in the Guinness Book of World Records for how many feminists we can fit in one ten-foot-by-ten-foot space!”
In the last year, the Returning Women Students Program and the Interpersonal Violence Advocacy Program were also added to the mix. The constant flow of new volunteers, programs and initiatives is making the tiny basement space feel more crowded than ever.
Signs outside the Montgomery Building will indicate the resource center’s new location. Until then, the room will be prepared, painted and phone lines installed.
Tracy Earll, Student Fee Committee chair at ASPSU, has also been working to move the resource center, but with a different vision in mind. For over a year, she’s been trying to secure adequate space for student funded organizations, such as the Women’s Resource Center, to move into Smith Memorial Student Union to create a hub of student services on campus. She envisioned the center moving to the third floor mezzanine of Smith, where a location was available.
This location in Smith is less than half the size of Montgomery lounge. The center predicted outgrowing the space within two or three years. Shattuck decided to leave Smith.
“While I hate to see [the center] leave the Student Union, I’m not going to try to stop them from moving to a bigger space in the Montgomery Building if that’s what they feel is best,” Earll said. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t accommodate for all student groups. I wish we could.”
Earll also stated that the mezzanine space in Smith is open to any and all student groups who submit a proposal to the Smith Advisory Board.