The Crozier Center for Women opened its doors as a resource for Kenyon’s women 30 years ago, and its student managers said the programming during a reunion held Saturday proved its mission has been evolving ever since.
The reunion brought together 10 alumni who managed or were otherwise involved with Crozier with current managers, Crozier members, students, and community members for a full day of events, including an open house, networking, a panel discussion about women in the workforce, women’s history trivia and a lecture on gender stereotypes by Professor of Psychology Sarah Murnen, a part of the Kenyon Unique lecture series.
Crozier co-manager Madeline Thompson ’16 said she noticed while researching the center’s history that 2016 marked its 30th anniversary. Thompson worked with Scott Baker ’94, associate vice president of alumni and parent engagement, to plan the event and ensure it had a balance of social events and networking opportunities.
“A lot of people who come out of Crozier are really interested in activism or nonprofit work,” Alicia Wright ’16, Crozier co-manager, said. “Establishing these connections with people who have graduated [is important] for students who want to go into the field but don’t really know where to start.”
Thompson said the opportunity to meet with alumni helped her fill in some of the gaps in Crozier’s history.
“Because there isn’t a lot of recordkeeping, and I’ve been trying to find stuff, to have people here who could just tell me directly, ‘This is what Crozier was like when we were here’ — to actually find out how Crozier had changed and evolved … was really moving to me,” Thompson said. “Before this, I could only read a few Collegian articles and guess.”
Crozier co-manager Anna Cohen ’16 said some of the ways in which the center has changed over time became clear during a dinner event with past classes of Crozier women. More than 40 people attended the dinner, including 10 official alumni guests.
“It was really wonderful to see the interactions between that first class of women and current [students],” Cohen said. “It seemed like a lot of them were really proud to see how far we’ve come, and that was really touching.”
Before Crozier was founded, Kenyon women found a support system and women’s healthcare through the Women’s Network, Kenyon’s first women’s association founded in 1975, according to Thompson. As time went on, the Women’s Network became Crozier as it is today, and its mission changed to reflect the needs of women on campus and the interests of the managers. Initially, this shift brought increased political activism as women became more integrated into the Kenyon community.
In the 1990s, the center emphasized meeting needs for contraception education and availability. Currently, Crozier’s focus is on gender education, transnational feminism and intersectionality, or the connections between different social identities.
“I think what I took away from it was just how much Crozier had changed and how it really evolved to fit campus needs [over time],” Wright said, speaking specifically about the center’s role in gender education. “I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes.”
An earlier version of this article misidentified Baker as Scott Gill-Jacobson, assistant director of housing and residential life.