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 Women’s Center anniversary celebrations!
The Women’s Center has always had something to celebrate. We often talk about how women-centered spaces and activists spaces by their very nature are radical and bold and well, we find that worth celebrating. As you already know, this year the Women’s Center is celebrating our 25th anniversary. We kicked off the year with a birthday party where some of our founding members and critical people in our history spoke about the importance of Women’s Centers and the way they had seen the Women’s Center grow over the years. We had cupcakes, enjoyed a feminist- inspired photo- booth, and had a wonderful time. Throughout the year, we continued to document and celebrate our history at events such as Critical Social Justice and welcoming Provost Rous to the Women’s Center to meet with current students, staff, and faculty. We also reached out to alum and former staff members over the year and created a 25 Friends of the Women’s Center to honor those who have given of their time and resources to support our work.
Simmona Simmons, a founder of The Women’s Center, speaks for the 25th anniversary celebration
But how have we celebrated past anniversaries?
During our 10th year of operation, the Women’s Center hosted a chair making event in which student organizations and departments connected to the Center, decorated a chair to represent themselves in the space. For many years, these chairs lined the walls of the Women’s Center as both decoration and useful places to sit. While the chairs are not out in our space on a daily basis anymore, you’ll see them make an appearance during roundtable events or other gatherings that require additional seating.
For our 20th anniversary, the Women’s Center Advisory Board and professional staff were committed to hosting large anniversary celebrations over the course of the year. Key events included our opening and closing picnic,a collection of women photographers featured in the Library gallery, and a service project at a local women’s shelter. UMBC student, Stefanie Mavronis, ’12 , interviewed many UMBC students, staff, and faculty for a digital story telling project to capture the theme of the anniversary: 100,000 Stories – Which One is Yours. In the spirit of the chair decorating that happened in our 10th year, we created a quilt featuring student organizations and departments that continue to be important to who we are as a Center.
Unveiling the 20th anniversary quilt lovingly crafted by student staff member, Lizzy Wunsch, Class of 2015.
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!