Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

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News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

August 26, 2009

Women’s Resource Center celebrates 30 years

Women’s Resource Center 30th anniversary logo DeKalb, Ill. — Thirty years ago, the Women's Resource Center was born at Northern Illinois University. In honor of the occasion, the WRC is throwing a party.

The center is hosting an open house featuring food, fun and friends to celebrate three decades of improving the campus climate for women.

The event is open to the public and will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Women’s Resource Center, 105 Normal Road. Those who would like to bring along a “birthday gift” can check out the center’s books wish list at

NIU’s WRC began as a reflection of the times. During the 1970s, universities across the nation experienced a change in the composition of their student bodies. The change came in the wake of the decade’s considerable social movements, which brought increasing numbers of women and minority groups to all campuses. In response, University Resources for Women was established at NIU, and the center opened its doors on Aug. 20, 1979.

The center moved to its present location on campus in 1990. Its name was changed to the Women’s Resource Center in 2005.

“The WRC takes great pride in providing a feminist space where students, faculty, and staff continue to come together around issues of diversity, equality and social justice,” says Jill Dunlap, director of the Women's Resource Center.

The WRC now boasts an extensive lending library, computer lab and lounge complete with big-screen TV and satellite service. Over the years, the center has conducted important work for women on campus—striving to make the community safer for women, serving as advocates for women with concerns on campus, raising awareness of how gender affects everyone's lives and getting women the resources they need to be successful. 

“All of the amazing work that the Women’s Resource Center does today is due to the hard work and determination of the women who came before us and who fought to make NIU a more female-friendly campus and to help students grow into more conscientious, feminist and global citizens,” Dunlap says.

Since its establishment, the major objectives of the Women’s Resource Center have been:

  • to provide a centrally located facility where women students can gather socially, hold meetings and take advantage of the other services devoted to their needs;
  • to cooperate with and coordinate existing programming for women on campus, thereby facilitating communication among offices and organizations;
  • and to support the recruitment and retention efforts of the university relative to female students.

The WRC also is hosting a Sept. 3 invitation-only luncheon to commemorate its three decades and honor its supporters. Speakers will include current and former students, founding director Sharon Howard and Anne Kaplan, vice president for administration and University Outreach.

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