The Rice Women's Resource Center is not only a space on the Rice University campus, but also a community that fosters personal relationships and conversations. Our vision is to increase awareness of and sensitivity to gender issues in order to build a more supportive, dynamic atmosphere on campus. Through a series of educational and social events and programs, we hope to actively engage with diverse identities and facilitate critical discussion of gender issues. The center also serves as an innovative platform and safe space for expression and development of philosophies and ideologies.
Written by Mona Hicks, Founder of the Women’s Resource Center and Director of Student Activities and the Women's Resource Center at Rice, 1995-2002.
In the early spring of 1995, women students at Rice University were having bi -weekly meetings in the clubs, Graduate Women's Interest Network (GWIN) and Women's Interest Network (WIN - for undergrads). The leadership of those groups got together and asked the question, "How come we don't have a Women's Center at Rice? Other schools have them, we should certainly have one at Rice." The student leaders went to the Dean of Students at that time and asked her why that is as well. She sat down with other leaders in Student Affairs and formed a Steering Committee. Research was done on other institutions with Women's Centers and what a Women's Center at Rice could do and what it could look like. At that point, summer came and the Chair of the Steering Committee left her position at Rice along with the final 3-page proposal for a Women's Resource Center.
In the summer of 1995, I accepted a job at Rice and was given that proposal and charged to do something about it. I took the opportunity without hesitation. The 3-page proposal was not much to go on but once we had a chance to acquire some space in the Student Center, there was no turning back! I met with Jackie Ehlers of the Rice Women's Commission to learn the history and issues of Rice women and then talked to the students who took the initiative. I then came up with the key idea that Rice should recognize women for their efforts in the empowerment of women and thought it should be done in a big way. Hence, the Grand Opening of the Center and Outstanding Rice Woman Award (now the gender equitable IMPACT Award) emerged.
On February 9, 1996, we had a Grand Opening of the Women's Resource Center at Rice with an idealistic mission, a little budget, and a few programs planned for Women's History Month.
My main goal was to give women at Rice a voice...give women students a little more self-power through leadership along with some educational programs.