Margaret Sloss Women’s Center: An Underutilized Resource
by Ahna Kruzic
Having served as an active volunteer at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center since my first semester at Iowa State, I’ve begun to realize how truly underutilized the facility is. The center, often referred to as the Women’s Center or the Sloss House, is the small residential-looking structure on Central Campus nestled between Curtiss Hall and the Gerdin Business Building. The Margaret Sloss Women’s Center’s mission is to “…promote equity and social change on the Iowa State University campus for women students, staff, and faculty. Through a feminist lens, the center advocates for individuals and groups; provides support, referrals, community and programming; and maintains a safe space in the Sloss House.”
The Women’s Center provides extensive community resources and referrals for students in any imaginable situation. Information and support is available for non-traditional adult students. Referrals to ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support) and other sexual assault support services are offered. Support for students with children is offered and information on lactation locations across campus is updated and distributed frequently. Information on community resources such as child care assistance, education and counseling, employment and financial assistance, food, clothing, and furniture banks, medical and wellness resources, rent and utility assistance and volunteer opportunities are provided- just to name a few.
In addition to the extensive amount of valuable community resources associated with the Women’s Center, the Center also offers a welcoming student-centered atmosphere on the main floor. The main floor includes a kitchen complete with refrigerator and freezer, a microwave, an oven, a dishwasher, coffee maker, separate coffee maker for warming water to use in cocoa and tea, baking and serving utensils, dishes, and a kitchen table. The main floor also has a living room that seats up to 15 individuals and is complete with HDTV cable, a sunroom with a couch, table, and chairs, and a computer room with three computers and a printer. All of the latter is available to all students (not just women), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Though the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center offers a plethora of resources for students, faculty, and staff, perhaps the Center’s greatest asset is its welcoming atmosphere. The Women’s Center has an uncanny ability to make you feel as if you’re relaxing at home in the middle of the workday- it’s not uncommon to see a student napping in the sun room, pulling lunch out of the refrigerator, or just watching the afternoon news while sprawled out on one of the couches. The walls are adorned with local art, the kitchen is always clean, free samples of essentials such as razors, chapstick, and condoms are often left out for students, and the people are friendly; the atmosphere is simply absolutely unmatched by any place on campus.
Adding to the unparalleled atmosphere of the Women’s Center is the amazing women and men who work there. These individuals are passionate about what they do, and it really translates to a positive experience for any student who frequents the space that they do. As a result, students leave feeling respected, valued, and taken care of. The Margaret Sloss Women’s Center, one of Iowa State’s underutilized gems, is a place that wholesomely contributes to the overall well-being of all students who visit- and it shows. The space is truly invaluable to the Iowa State community and I encourage faculty, students, and staff to take advantage of the uniquely supportive atmosphere that the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center offers.
by Ahna Kruzic
Iowa State University | Sociology and Philosophy
Government of the Student Body | Director of ISU Ambassadors