The Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.
This week we’re featuring the history of the Women’s Center supporting working moms and student parents!
Since our opening in 1991, the Women’s Center has continually been dedicated to UMBC mother’s and returning students. Long before it was mandatory by policy, the Women’s Center has had a lactation room in our space to supporting nursing moms returning back to work and school. Early in our history, we hosted monthly Mother’s Group meetings and served as a safe-haven for moms to come together sharing both their challenges and successes with each other as they navigated parenthood. Lasting friendships between participants formed and it was empowering to know moms on campus could connect and advocate for themselves and each other. The Women’s Center also hosted a list-serv for these parents to continue connecting with each other sharing resources like childcare, the most reliable sitters, and recommended pediatricians.
Kiddos and moms hanging out in the Women’s Center in 2000
Today, the Women’s Center no longer hosts a face-to-face mother’s group meeting but we do host an online forum via myUMBC for parents to connect with each other and share resources (such as the childcare resource guide the Women’s Center manages and updates from year to year). All UMBC parents are encouraged to join. We always welcome little ones into our space and at our events – especially if it means their parents get to spend time in the Women’s Center too! On snow days when UMBC is open and local school districts are closed, your bound to see a Little Retriever or two hanging out in our space with their parents in between their classes. The lactation room is always busy and we work hard to accommodate everyone’s hectic schedules. Many student parents also find a home and support through our Returning Women Students events, programs, and scholarships. Women’s Center staff also serves as the staff advisor for the new Parents Club student organization. UMBC student parents are encouraged to join the group and can learn more here.
A Little Retriever playing in the Women’s Center during a recent Parents Club meeting.
The lactation room in the Women’s Center. Did you know we recently were awarded the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award?
What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!
Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!