The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU to host “Panel of Community Voices”

Women*s Center and Residents Hall Association to collaborate on event, panel to be held Tuesday from 4 – 6:30 p.m.
The Women*s Center and the RHA are hoping to make this a yearly event. Photo courtesy of Lorena Cruz

The WSU Women*s Center and Resident Hall Association will be collaborating to hold a Q&A and panel meant to raise awareness of safety services available to students.

Lorena Cruz, Women*s Center student services advisor, said the event will be held from 4 – 6:30 p.m. March 26 in the CUB Auditorium.

“We kind of tried to do something similar but obviously on a much smaller scale. We had a hosting of the documentary ‘Listen: the Lauren McCluskey Story’ here at the Women*s Center,” Cruz said. “I thought it was such a good event and I thought it would be cool to bring it to a larger audience but we didn’t necessarily have the means or the budget to do that.”

Cruz said after last year’s event, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation reached out and asked if they would invite them if they ever held a similar event. Among the groups invited to be on the panel are members of the McCluskey Foundation, WSU PD, administrators from the office of Compliance and Civil Rights, administrators from the LGBTQ+ Center and the OneLove Foundation.

“What it is is that these are the people that are entrusted to do public safety work at WSU,” she said. “It’s mostly an opportunity for students to get to know who those people are and put faces to names and also give them an opportunity to ask in person, ‘if something were to happen, are there options?’”

Tyler Nielsen, senior pre-law political science major and RHA president, said he first met Cruz in November and they have been working on this event for the past couple of months.

“We do want to get into more of a community space and represent a lot more people and we know that especially on campus the majority of [the] population [living on campus is made up of] freshmen and that’s who I think this will be most valuable for,” Nielsen said. “The whole process has been pretty smooth and I’m pretty excited for the event.”

The panel is also meant to bridge the gap between Women’s History Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Cruz said. This is why the event will be held at the end of March and the bridging is done in part by using the event as a way to promote Take Back the Night, the march the Coalition of Women Students organized

This event is open to the general public and not just students, Cruz said. There will be a Google Form for attendees to submit questions to the panel anonymously if they would prefer.

Nielsen said the event is important for the RHA because they specifically represent students who live on campus, a majority of whom are freshmen and many of whom may be either first-gen students and/or new to Washington state.

“I think it’s important for these people who may be unaware of all the resources they have available, so I think the Women*s Center is a really great place to go. They offer support for virtually everyone and they have so many resources to access and I think they’re really just good for a lot of different information and different options for a lot of different people,” Nielsen said.

Cruz said she hopes this panel will eventually become a yearly event and they may invite more people to the panel next year. Both parties involved are hoping the event will be annually held.

“I am in talks with my soon-to-be replacement, the president-elect who will take over after I graduate. I know she’s very on board with the event and one of my goals with it is to turn it into an annual event,” Nielsen said. “I think it is very useful for people on campus and people in the community, so I’d love to kind of create an annual tradition.”

The collaboration with the RHA is necessary, as with the way budget allocations have been the past few years, the Women*s Center does not have the financial push to put on a large event on its own, Cruz said.

“As a representative of the Women*s Center, it was so helpful to have somebody who has a direct budget we can work with and also gave me insight as a staff member into a different student senate which I was not familiar with, so I think it was also a really good learning opportunity on both our ends to see how the other side works,” she said.

Nielsen said they are hoping for 100–200 people to attend the event. There is no charge to attend but attendance will be taken at the door.

“I want [students] to … have an educational experience, obviously Lauren’s story is in many ways unique but also very common in a lot of other ways,” Nielsen said. “That’s why we’re having the panel members as well so they can learn what resources they have and know that there are people who are there to support them, most likely wherever they go but especially while they’re here we want them to know they’ll have many outlets of support and different variations of that.”

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About the Contributor
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.