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Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find a collection of questions frequently asked in the Women's Center. If you have any questions not found here, please fill out the contact form and we will get your questions answered!

What's a Women's Center
Is the Women's Center only for women?

What is the ODU Women's Center?

Serving the Old Dominion University community since 1976, the Women's Center offers programs and services designed to promote gender equity and address the special challenges and opportunities female students encounter in the pursuit of higher education. Recognizing the critical role that both women and men play in promoting an environment free of gender bias, Center programs are designed to educate and inspire all students to achieve their personal, academic, and professional potential.

The Women's Center is located on the first floor of Webb University Center, Suite 1000, in the south wing near Health Services. The Women's Center, under the direction of La Wanza Lett-Brewington, is a unit in the Division of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services.

Why does ODU need a Women's Center?

The Women's Center at Old Dominion University is the oldest Center in the state of Virginia. Opened in 1976, our main purpose was to help adult women prepare to enroll and begin programs of study at ODU. Currently, we focus on women's issues and concerns, primarily on campus, and attempt to respond to the historical inequities experienced by women through our programs and services.

The ODU Women's Center provides women with resources and support as they realize their potential through programs such as the Women's Institute for Leadership Development (W.I.L.D) and the Sexual Assault Free Environment (S.A.F.E.) Program. The Center also serves as a vital resource for activism and change through policy and procedure recommendations, resource referrals, and programming. Women's Center staff members are knowledgeable in women's leadership, sexual & relationship violence, body image, self-esteem building and feminist activism.

Are men welcome at the Women's Center? Can men be involved?

Definitely! We welcome anyone to explore our resources, use our referrals, volunteer with us and attend programs. We are designated as a Women's Center because our mission addresses the special challenges and opportunities women encounter, but we also seek to create a world that is free of gender bias and empower all students to achieve their potential. We cannot achieve this objective without men! While men are always welcome to visit our office and to attend our programs, there are special offerings designated "for women only" (W.I.L.D. or self-defense classes, for example).

The Women's Center is committed to gender equity; however, for the most part, men (particularly straight, white men) have not been discriminated against and have not had to continually fight for equal rights. History has focused primarily on the achievements and contributions of men, having largely ignored women. So, in essence, society and social, educational, political and religious institutions have served as "men's centers." We welcome men to volunteer, become M-POWER Peer Educators, participate in Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, and be our allies in ending violence against women.

What's the difference between the Women's Center and Women's Studies?

Though closely linked by our similar mission of exploring gender and women's issues, the ODU Women's Center and the Department of Women's Studies are distinctly different. The Department of Women's Studies, the oldest in Virginia, was established in 1977. It is a dynamic, academic interdisciplinary program of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the fall of 1995, ODU became the first state-assisted school in Virginia to offer a major as well as a minor in Women's Studies. For more information about the Department of Women's Studies, contact the Department Chair, Dr. Jennifer Fish, or visit the Women's Studies website.

The Women's Center is not an academic program although our staff may teach Women's Studies classes. We offer workshops, speaker-series, and educational programs (sometimes with the Women's Studies Department), but those programs are not for college credit. Our Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There are always helpful and friendly people available to assist you.

  • Browse the latest Ms. or BUST magazines
  • Talk with us about issues affecting women at ODU
  • Talk about the role of women in changing the world
  • Stop in for advocacy and support for dealing with sexual or relationship violence

Our website has some wonderful information for those interested in gender issues, feminism, and/or violence against women -- so spend some time exploring each area of our site to see what we do.

Is the Women's Center just for students?

The Women's Center is a part of the Division of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, but the services, referrals, resources, and programs are open to all members of the campus community unless otherwise noted. Everyone can benefit from our services and programs. Community members have long supported our programs, particularly around Women's History Month. Faculty and staff can access the Center for resources to help students on issues such as sexual/relationship violence, sexual harassment, and sexism. They can also request educational programs for their classes or send their students to us for class projects on a variety of topics related to women.

How can I become involved?

There are many things you can do to be a part of the Women's Center family:

Students:

  • All students are welcome to volunteer. Contact our Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator, Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer at 757-683-4109 or gedwards@odu.edu for more details.
  • If you are interested in becoming a peer educator with the M-Power Program contact the S.A.F.E. Graduate Assistant, Michele Haynam at 683-4109 or email: mhaynam@odu.edu for more details.
  • Women students can apply for W.I.L.D. (a leadership institute that runs each semester for 7 weeks on Mondays from 2-4 pm).
  • Returning women students can join Delta Sigma Lambda, a sorority for adult women students who are returning to school after a break or starting college for the first time.
  • Feminist students can join the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the student activist chapter dedicated to feminist ideals. Contact Joann Bautti-Roche, jbautti@odu.edu, for more information.

Faculty & Staff:

  • Talk with us about safety concerns and engage in dialogue about women's issues on campus.
  • Faculty, staff, and community members can share their expertise and experiences as presenters during awareness week/month activities or join us in our programming as audience members.

Community-at-Large:

  • Provide feedback about what you feel we should be doing, what we could be doing better, and/or what we are doing well.
  • Attend our awareness events.