From its inception in 2001, the Women’s Educational Center has been committed to providing support to women returning to school, establishing several scholarships specifically designated for this population. The WEC has also been instrumental in encouraging women returning to school to apply for the highly competitive Scholarship for Returning Women administered by the Center for the Education of Women at UM-Ann Arbor. For 2006-2007, seven women from the Flint campus were granted a scholarship, the largest number of Flint campus women to be awarded in the history of the scholarship. Additionally, the WEC continues to administer the Critical Difference Grant that was established with a gift from the University of Michigan Alumnae Council. This grant provides up to $300 to returning students who find themselves in a financial crisis that may prevent them from completing the semester. On average, the WEC awards about $10,000 annually.
The Women’s Educational Center also focuses on issues relating to violence against women. With a gift of $4,000 from a private donor in 2002, the WEC was able to purchase protective gear and began offering self-defense classes in collaboration with the Recreation Center. In the fall of 2005, the WEC was awarded a $400,000 grant from the US Department of Justice to implement an awareness-raising campaign on campus about violence against women. The WEC has worked with Mott Community College, the YWCA of Greater Flint, the Flint Police Department and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to implement educational programs for the campus community and training sessions for Public Safety officers.
The 2005-2006 academic year was a time of transition for the Women’s Educational Center. With a new Director and Project Coordinator, emphasis was placed on expanding existing programs and creating new initiatives to attract a broad range of students, faculty, staff and community members. The WEC has been successful in forming partnerships with several departments and student organizations on campus to implement programs such as scholarship workshops, Women’s History Month activities, a production of the Vagina Monologues, as well as Family Fun Night for students, faculty, and staff with children.