Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) has been a space for raucous parties in the past, but in order to strengthen the building’s unique identity as a safe space for women, the WRC board recently decided to make the building a dry space. They announced this decision to the community in a series of Reserved Students Digest e-mails.
Kristin Caspar ’09, a board member of the Women’s Resource Center, explained to the Gazette that the WRC was refurbished inside over the summer. “Often parties involving alcohol would end up leaving it in a state of disaster, people would damage objects inside or pieces of the property… even after reiterating time after time that parties had to respect the space, we were seeing no changes so we decided to take bigger steps in protecting the WRC.”
With the WRC now newly redone, “we wanted to make it more of a comfortable space and we also wanted to add more physical resources that we wouldn’t have to put away in hiding every couple of days.” Asked to elaborate on the resources, Caspar said that while nothing is concrete at the moment, “we just put up photos taken by Swarthmore students of women from abroad and we would like to add more art done by Swarthmore women as well… we want not only new furniture, but also more books and visual resources for women.”
The decision is also meant “to strengthen the WRC as a women’s resource center space and organization,” according to Caspar. “The board felt as if the space was being used more for parties than it was for women’s issues, and that the reputation was starting to steer farther and farther away from that of a resource center to just a general party space. As much as we enjoy it being open to the campus, we want to strengthen its identity as a safe space through non-alcoholic functions.”
Jessica Hamilton ’09, head of the Social Affairs Committee, told the Gazette in an e-mail that “Of course SAC respects the right of the WRC to make the building a more comfortable, safe, and resourceful space. Unfortunately, with the WRC out of commission for parties with alcohol, this will create a greater demand for the remaining spaces on campus allowing ‘wet’ parties (Olde Club, Paces, Wharton basement/courtyard). For students hoping to throw parties this semester, I would highly recommend booking any of the above spaces sooner rather than later.”
That said, Hamilton wanted to say that that “the WRC is a great space on campus for anything- barbecues, meetings, discussions, and small gatherings in addition to parties… hopefully, groups will still utilize the WRC for campus-wide events, even if alcohol isn’t involved.”