Self Care and Contemplation Space Grand Opening

On Friday, May 20 the WCC had the Grand Opening of the new Self Care and Contemplation Space! The opening featured a guided meditation led by Ph.D student Victoria Chang, massages by Serge from Rejuv at Work, and a self care workshop by Priscila Garcia from the Haas Center. Participants also drew and made crafts.

The SCCC is meant to promote balance and rejuvenation for all members of the WCC community. It is a safe space that one can enter with the intent to care for oneself and fulfill one’s emotional needs, either in solitude or with companions. As such, the space is equipped with various items including books, snacks, seashells, pillows, and various other items that promote comfort or reflection. For the WCC community of academics, activists… humans, the SCCC is a much-needed oasis to relieve stress and invigorate the spirit – the source of our creativity and resilience.  

On Thursday from 2:15 to 4:15 there will be workshop in the SCCS to make body creams with Ashley Mills! There will also be massages by Serge from Rejuv at Work.


– Kathryn Rydberg ’19 and Maya Odei ’16

Herstory of Activism at Stanford

Past and present activism at Stanford was discussed at an event on April 14, which included presentations from University Archivists Jenny Johnson and Josh Schneider as well as a panel featuring Gina Hernandez, Cindy Ng, and Karen Biestman. Jenny Johnson spoke about the history of Women at Stanford, from the first sororities on campus, early women’s sports, and the longstanding limit on the number of women that could enroll at one time. Josh Schneider presented selections from the University Archives showing Social Justice at Stanford, including a 1968 event at which African-American students expressed their frustration at the non-white experience of Stanford following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on-campus protests of the Vietnam War, and the formation of cultural centers. Cindy Ng, the Director of A3C, discussed the infrastructure of community centers at Stanford and the student group Concerned Students for Asian-American Studies that demonstrated for an Asian-American Studies program in 1994. Karen Biestman is the Associate Dean and Director of the Native American Cultural Center; she answered questions about activism at Stanford vs. activism at Berkeley, facilitating communication between the administration and students, and the meaning of diversity in higher education. Gina Hernandez was a student activist involved in the 1989 takeover of the president’s office over minority representation at Stanford. IMG_2279Posted by Kathryn Rydberg, WCC

An Afternoon with Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay’s visit to Stanford had us laughing, snapping, and nodding.  Check out some highlights below:

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Roxane Gay began by reading a few excerpts from her book Bad Feminist, which discusses her experiences with feminism, and what it means to be a feminist in ways that are bravely authentic and unapologetically imperfect.

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She then fielded some questions from the audience, discussing a myriad of topics including male feminists, inclusivity within historically exclusive white feminist organizations, and Donald Trump.

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Thanks so much for coming out, Roxane!

Black Women’s Liberation with Elaine Brown and Ashley Yates

IMG_2329Above image: Ashley Yates (Ferguson activist), Elaine Brown (former chairman of the Black Panther Party and activist), Maya Odei (WCC Herstory Month coordinator), Claire Robinson (WCC intern).

Black Women’s Liberation on Feb. 5th, 2016 with Elaine Brown and Ashley Yates was easily the best event that I’ve attended on campus all year. Many discussions on campus can be a good way to draw in folks who are not already aware of social justice issues. However, as a person who thinks about systems of oppression, diversity, etc. almost daily, I have difficulty finding events at which I truly learn something new, or even at which old information is presented in a novel or interesting way. 

One subject that Elaine addressed was respectability. She preached that we as a black community must embrace “Shaniqua”, the young mother on welfare who has not received much formal schooling. Rather than being classist and looking down on “Shaniqua” (especially, Elaine reminded us, considering that we don’t have any real wealth relative to those in power), we must include her in our fight for liberation. There was much much more but I’ll end with this, thank you Black House for spearheading such an amazing event. Thank you Elaine and Ashley for being completely unapologetic in your fight against racism and other forms of oppression. 



It is a given I am beautiful because I am alive.

“It is a given I am beautiful because I am alive”

I heard these words for the first time on Tuesday from Kathleen MacDonald’s presentation on eating disorders and healthy body image as part of Herstory month. After 20 years of struggling with an eating disorder, Kathleen is now fully healed and an advocate for those still struggling through her work at the Gail R. Schoenbach Foundation for Recovery and Elimination of Eating Disorders (FREED Foundation) .

This simple yet profound phrase has since changed my outlook. I find myself repeating them constantly throughout the day, and you know what? I feel happier, I feel freer, and I feel more beautiful. Perhaps this lesson is obvious for those of you out there with wonderful and healthy body images, but it wasn’t for me.

While I am generally comfortable with my body, eat healthy, and exercise, I have simultaneously kept a menta list of things I would change. As I would get dressed in the morning, I would think things like “ugh bloated today” or “need to work off that dessert I had.” Really positive messages to tell myself first thing in the morning, right WRONG! But when Kathleen asked those in the audience if they have ever wanted to change something about their bodies, every single person raised their hand.

How about instead of thinking we should look like some certain “ideal,” we try to start focusing on the beauty of being alive?

So, repeat after me: “It is a given I am beautiful because I am alive!”


Alive and Beautiful

You can learn more about Kathleen’s work here:


Editors Note:

Eating disorders are a serious medical condition that weigh heavily on those they affect. However, there is a lot of support on campus for those who are suffering or know someone suffering from an eating disorder. Please reach out to The Bridge or CAPS for peer counseling or professional counseling services. There are also nutritionists available at Vaden to help you build an eating plan that fits your life. Or, if it is more comfortable, reach out to your RA or PHE.

The Women’s Community Center Staff is always here to help support you and direct you towards appropriate campus resources. You are not alone in your struggle, though sometimes it may feel that way.