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Nov. 17, 2014

Women's Center provides students with resources

By Ashli Speed

Enjoying the company of friends, quietly studying for an exam, peacefully doing yoga or grabbing a bite to eat — these are all activities that Cleveland State University students can be found doing in the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center located in the Main Classroom.

The center, named after Cleveland State alumnas Mareyjoyce Green, provides students with a place to unwind and regroup.

Overwhelmed by the pressures of balancing life and being a full-time student, senior urban studies and organizational leadership major Williette Crawford considered dropping out.

“I came into Mareyjoyce and I was really frustrated and on the verge of dropping out,” Crawford said. "I was given a tour and the help I needed. They didn’t just point me in the direction of 411, they walked me down there.”

Her first experience with the center gave her the encouragement and resources she needed to continue with her pursuit of a degree.

“They really got involved and helped me get connected," Crawford said. "I was able to make this my second home."

Now a student assistant in the center, Crawford is one of many students who have made themselves feel at home in the center.
The center features a computer lab, a quiet study room and a food pantry completely free and open to students in need.

The center hosts many events throughout the year — the theme for this semester is balance. Yoga is an activity the center is featuring to help students find balance and relieve stress.

“Helping people no matter what their needs are, people come in with a variety of issues and we help them,” Crawford said. “Whatever the need is, we try to provide support. We’re no counselors, but we will help people get plugged into whatever it is they need.”

Through collaboration of campus and community, the center is able to provide students with resources.

“We’re here to help students overcome obstacles to success," Jillian Keller, coordinator of

The Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center, said. "Our goal is to help students make it to graduation. Students get an education to make their lives better and we want to help.”

The center houses many events that benefit students. Mareyjoyce is an agency listed with Dress for Success and they partner with the Cleveland Foodbank to help students apply for food assistance. Dress for Success is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women through professional clothing and employment retention programs.

The center has held health screenings with mammograms, women’s support groups and a regular event is Hot Chocolate Mondays — a morale boost and a chance for students to sit back, relax and connect.

“The noise in here ranges between peaceful and loud, loud laughing — students are having too much fun,” Keller said.

The services offered by the center are open to all students, with an emphasis on women and student parents.

Last year, the center participated in the international day of female empowerment, 'One Billion Rising.' This event is a global campaign to end violence against women, rise for justice and promote gender equality. The center plans to participate again this year.

“We are intimately familiar with the obstacles our female students face,” Keller said.

The food pantry is a service Mareyjoyce offers all year round. It is open to the Cleveland State community and serves students regularly. Currently in its fifth year, they are seeing a steady increase in the students who use their services.

Many individuals make donations to the pantry. Recently, many campus organizations have held food drives on campus in order to support the center's food pantry. Some of them include Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Phi Beta Creative Arts Fraternity. Donation boxes, decorated by Phi Beta, can currently be seen outside the doors of the center.

Jazmin Hawkins, a sophomore working at the center for one year, has enjoyed her time in the center and is proud of all they do.

“The center and what it offers are phenomenal," Hawkins said. "It’s great we have something to offer students, it’s a home away from home."