The EmPOWER Center, the first 7C resource designed to support students impacted by sexual assault, officially opened its doors to the consortium community after an open house on Jan. 28. The event saw over 200 students, staff, and faculty visit the space and learn about the resources offered by the EmPOWER Center.
After years of administrative development, a national search for a director, and continued consultation with a student advisory board, the center is available for use.
Rima Shah, director of the EmPOWER Center, wrote in an email to TSL that the center “offers a crucial resource to the consortium – providing one space where any 7C student can confidentially receive care, counseling, information, and referrals.”
The center has been in the works for several years, and its development involved a collaborative effort across the entire consortium community. According to Pomona Title IX Coordinator Daren Mooko, administrators across the Claremont Colleges identified both an absence of support services for survivors of sexual assault and a general lack of education on the issues across the seven campuses. They proposed a centralized office to provide those resources to students.
The first stage of the EmPOWER center’s development began when the Consortium’s Title IX Coordinators’ request for a federal grant was approved. Mooko said that the proposed resource center was so relevant to the consortium’s needs that 7C administrators began planning its development “with or without the grant.”
According to Hannah Atlas SC ’16, co-coordinator for Scripps Student Advocates, the development of the EmPOWER Center was a “collaborative endeavor” between the Student Advocate groups and administrations across the different campuses. Student leaders in survivor support groups from the 7Cs form an advisory board that meets monthly to discuss the center’s role within the consortium community.
Marie Vail SC ’16, co-coordinator for Scripps Student Advocates, said the EmPOWER Center is meant to “bring together the advocates' groups and the survivors’ alliances into a common meeting spot.”
Mooko is confident that Shah and the center’s administration will provide “resources that are relevant to students,” ensuring the EmPOWER center is accessible for students across the seven campuses. In an email to TSL, Shah wrote that the agenda for the Center’s very first semester includes the “creation of a 5C/7C-wide men’s initiative, run[ning] one or two survivor support groups at the Center, and so much more.”
The EmPOWER center is the “first step of a very long-term plan that the 7C students and administration envision for resources and support,” said Atlas.
“I want the Center to help create a culture of care where everyone sees it as their responsibility to not only take care of themselves but to also take care of each other,” Shah wrote.
Atlas echoed this sentiment, saying the meaningful impact of the center to increase awareness of these issues “involves a cultural change across the seven campuses which requires time and investment from all parties.”