With the close of each academic year, we reflect on our recent successes and consider ways we can work toward more fully meeting the University community’s needs when the next year begins.
In 2015-16, our staff led varied efforts across Grounds, sharing their expertise with:
- 30 interns
- 60 Young Women Leaders Program big sisters
- 14 mentoring group facilitators
- 12 Men’s Leadership Project big brothers
- 3 graduate assistants
Many of these 119 young leaders recently graduated and are bringing their social justice advocacy skills to communities near and far. Others will join us again next year to further hone their skills and help us train more future leaders. Your past support has helped us reach the level of programs and services we currently offer and keeping you informed about our strengths and challenges is important to us. These highlights are what we think you most need to know now as a supporter of the Women’s Center.
We’re a Model of Excellence in Counseling
From July 1 to May 30, our counseling team provided 1413 hours of free, professional, conveniently located support to 97 clients. Here’s why clients come to the Women’s Center for counseling and support.
- We’re Experts.
Our counselors are known for their extensive expertise supporting college students with concerns ranging from the stresses of young adulthood to traumatic events in their lives or within their families or communities.
- We’re Flexible.
Our location is easy to reach. The environment here is both homey and scholarly, but never institutional. Clients’ sessions continue as long as they need them. We understand that there are many reasons that students stay in Charlottesville year-round (like jobs, rent, or research opportunities). We offer counseling sessions throughout the summer months ensuring that our clients’ access to this essential service is not interrupted.
- We Empower our Clients.
Our counselors help clients gain a powerful sense of autonomy by identifying the change that is important to them and working to make that change happen.
Over time, our counseling team has grown to better meet the level of need. This has been possible thanks to generous and consistent support from caring members of the UVA community like you, along with more recent increases in funding for counseling services from University administration. We make every effort to keep waitlists to a minimum and we address the most urgent requests swiftly. But you have demonstrated a sincere interest in the availability of counseling resources to the University community and we want to provide you the full picture: demand for our high quality, flexible services exceeds supply.
Women’s Center Engaged Scholars Work for Social Justice
At the Women’s Center we are proud to work with students who are committed to service during their time at UVA and in the communities they choose to call home after college. Our students are eager to reach across age groups and the many aspects of culture and identity that too often impede progress toward equity for all. Charlotte Chapman, a long-time leader on our staff in both counseling services and engaged scholarship, observed a singular example this year in her work with Body Positive Intern, Laura Widener. Charlotte saw that “Laura had an immediate impact on the Body Positive Program by raising our awareness to be more inclusive. She strengthened our partnership with the LGBTQ Center and co-led an event that included diversity issues in a conversation about body positivity.” Laura’s leadership on this front will have a positive and lasting impact on our Body Positive program.
Likewise, big brothers in our Men’s Leadership Project, like Joe Murphy and Aman Mangalmurti, are discovering their own assumptions about masculinity while guiding their little brothers’ growth from boys to men. We see that acting as role models for 7th grade boys prepares big brothers to be leaders among their peers at UVA, too. Reconciling accepted notions of being a man and healthy, respectful relationships with women and men is at least as challenging in college as it is in middle school. Benefits of the Men’s Leadership Project extend beyond the big and little brothers to many more men, women, boys and girls in all of their schools, families and communities.
Help Us Sustain and Grow these Powerful Programs
Join our network of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends committed to a just and equitable UVA – an unrivaled place to work and learn. Our staff and students stand ready to increase the reach and impact of programs like Body Positive and the Men’s Leadership Project.
Please give by June 30th as your support now enables us to start the next academic year with confidence that we can continue to meet increased demand for our programs and services in the University community. Visit womenscenter.virginia.edu/donate for our mailing address or other information about the many ways to give.