Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Why a Women's Center? II
Author(s):Ham, Patricia
Contributor(s):Wiedemair, Agathe; Nitzsche Green, Rebecca; Becker, Katherine
Subject(s):Women’s services
Office of Women’s Programs (OWP)
Female body
Gender inequity
KIN442 S08
Abstract:Control of space, particularly at the University of Illinois, influences the movement of the human body and the resources the University provides for the student body. The current Office of Women’s Programs provides a large variety of services to the UIUC student body. However, in order to address all components of women’s needs as well as issues of gender inequity, a Women’s Center is necessary on campus. This study attempts to determine the overall student body awareness of the services provided by the Office of Women’s Programs and the limitations that affect the expansion of the OWP to a Women’s Center. Three interviews with OWP personnel, an observation of the OWP setting, an observation of an OWP event, two campus surveys, and archival research were conducted to obtain the results. An analysis of the data yielded that a lack of physical space, personnel, programming, and resources exists at the OWP. The funding and promotional work for a Women’s Center is deficient on campus. The student body awareness of the OWP is minimal. One of thirty-three undergraduate students had knowledge of the OWP. The expansion of the OWP into a Women’s Center is a powerful step towards offering the UIUC student body a confidential and controlled physical space in an environment where sex as a cultural marker is expanding. This study provides preliminary information on the status quo of the OWP and reasons for expansion, which will contribute to future research on similar topics.
Issue Date:2008
Course / Semester:Kin 442, Bodies, Culture & Society, Prof. Melissa Littlefield: Students participating in this course examine bodies in history, in particular cultural contexts, in international and national forums. Questions guiding research include: What is a body? Is there such a thing as “the” body? How are bodies produced? What do they represent? Who gets to represent them? Course readings vary widely to include anthropological, historical, psychological and sociological perspectives. Student projects focus on exercise, health and sport practices in general and on the University of Illinois campus in particular. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-06-11

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