Mission & More
Our anti-racist and feminist work for social justice is built on these pillars:
- diversity & inclusion
- equity & equality
- compassion & solidarity
Community Care and Wellness
Nurturing a well environment that supports and cares for our community starts with committing to self-attunement and self-preservation through radical self-care practices. Living out this value supports resilience, builds self-compassion, and cultivates trust to foster a sense of safety and belonging for our community members.
Professional Excellence and Mentorship
We bring expertise to our work and uphold the highest professional standards. We are committed to reciprocal learning with the students who choose to join us in the Center’s experiential learning opportunities. We share our knowledge - implicitly and explicitly - with them. Recognizing and honoring the expertise that they bring, we look to learn from them as well.
Both in how we do our work and in what we do as our work, the ultimate goal of all that we offer at the Women’s Center is holistic leadership undertaken with an anti-racist and racially-aware stance. Inspired by Robert Greenleaf’s concept of servant leadership, we aspire to embody leadership concerned with the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. This approach calls us to nurture a brave environment that empowers all of us – staff, interns, clients – to teach and learn from each other. Our community supports the growth that comes from stretching comfort levels, taking on stewardship responsibilities, and engaging in difficult conversations. We are committed to modeling compassionate leadership that stands as an alternative to the currently prevailing, power-driven form of leadership offered as the dominant model for emulation. Our model of leadership incorporates our core values with a focus on stewardship of resources and service to others.
To serve students and the University as a whole by:
- Fostering the respect, safety, and dignity of women and girls
- Developing leadership and compassion through academic community engagement
- Building powerful partnerships for social change
- Working for gender justice on Grounds and across the globe, and celebrating those who join us
Our Approach to Diversity
A diverse University of Virginia community provides every member respect and a safe place for understanding our differences as well as our likenesses. Fostering the safety, dignity, and respect of women and girls is central to the mission of the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. We believe that an environment that welcomes and supports people of different backgrounds, beliefs, ages, identities, ethnicities, and worldviews best accomplishes these goals. At the Women’s Center, we actively engage in discussions about social change and bias, challenging our assumptions and exchanging ideas. We invite others to join us in these discussions at our events, in our classes, and by social media.
Thousands of students petitioned the University to establish a Women’s Center in 1987. Two years later, the Women’s Center opened with Sharon Davie serving as director from 1989 through 2015. After 30 years serving the UVA community, we hold true to the founding vision for the center, which included fostering leadership, engaged scholarship, safety, and well-being. Today, we offer a number of services and opportunities, ranging from academic internships to counseling services, from materials to help you navigate difficult moments to public talks to inspire you.
In 2014, Maxine Platzer Lynn (Curry ’51) pledged an endowment to the Women’s Center to support its meaningful impact on the University. She describes her time at UVA as giving her “a great sense of community and of the importance of giving back.” She intends that her gift give today’s students the same opportunities by enabling the Women’s Center to continue its mentoring and outreach to all students, irrespective of gender.
Through the student leadership development and empowerment-based counseling we offer today, the Women’s Center contributes to the full flourishing of UVA’s students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Charlottesville community.