The Center's History
The Bowdoin "experiment with coeducation" began with 12 women in 1969-1970, followed by the first fully-coed class in 1972. In the late 1970s a group of women students, feeling that women needed a space of their own, searched the entire campus for a place that could serve this purpose. When they discovered 24 College Street, which had recently been acquired by the college, they fell in love with the building, especially the living room. When they found the portrait of a woman painted on the brick chimney in the basement, they felt it was meant for this building to become a space for women at Bowdoin.
Today,The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) at Bowdoin College works with students, faculty and staff to create a college environment that is safe, supportive, and encourages meaningful connections and dialogue. We provide the space for students to engage, together, in ending violence, creating a campus environment conducive to respectful interactions, and developing understanding among people of different socio-economic classes, races, cultural backgrounds, and sexual and gender identities.
The WRC believes that a campus without violence is possible. We envision a Bowdoin where men and women interact outside of the classroom with the same level of respect that they show each other during classes. We see a place where sexual assault does not occur, because bystanders intervene when they see behavior that is disrespectful or dangerous.
We believe that every body is beautiful. We work to create an environment where students can feel comfortable in their own skin -- where students struggling with self-esteem have a community of support ready to step in and help them.
We believe that we can all learn from each other and that by bringing together women of different backgrounds and identities we will create a stronger community. We are dedicated to creating a welcoming environment that fosters fun, respectful, and critical discourse.
We believe in the importance of understanding our own privilege and staying connected to what is happening in the world outside of Bowdoin. We provide students with social justice education opportunities, particularly those that focus on issues of gender, sexual orientation, bias-related incidents, and other issues which impact disenfranchised communities. We also provide our students with the opportunity to develop and practice skills that will be useful to them in working for social change.
We believe that we have a responsibility to provide our students with the skills they need to succeed in the world. We provide them with professional development training that will make them feel prepared, both personally and professionally, for life after Bowdoin.
The center is run by Director Melissa Quinby and a staff of Student Directors. The team works hard to deliver meaningful programming, fun and empowering events, and helpful resources to the Bowdoin community that really speaks at the most relevant, and often the most difficult, issues at hand.