Photo courtesy of Women’s Success Center marketing staff
One in every four women who start at UVU graduate, said Katherine Johnson, assistant director of women’s services. The Women’s Success Center is a student-run organization that began in 2011 with the purpose to give women the resources needed to complete their education.
“There was an initiative to help more women graduate because there definitely was a need,” Johnson said. The center is essential because the graduation rate of women at UVU is lower than that of men, she said.
“We consider it a win every time a woman registers for the next semester because over half of them will drop out in the first year,” said Anne Wairepo, senior director of women’s services.
Tools are provided to any woman who reaches out. The center has staff dedicated to helping women start college by distributing multiple scholarships and helping with FAFSA, according to Johnson. Scholarships are funded by donations collected from surrounding companies such as doTERRA International. The center also hosts luncheons to help fundraise.
The center serves students financially as well as socially. Success coaching allows women to have a safe place to solve their problems and have confidential conversations, according to the WSC’s current pamphlet.
“We love meeting students and getting to know their stories,” Wairepo said. “It creates a sense of belonging which can dramatically impact your desire to stay. It’s important to have someone on campus who cares about you, who knows your name.”
According to Johnson, there has been an increase in graduation for women since the center began. The center works alongside other organizations on campus to optimize its outreach and aid to students. The Student Success and Retention department works to encourage students who have dropped out to come back to school in order to complete their secondary education. The WSC aids those students with what they need to graduate.
“It’s great that we have an available resource for all women to go to help them, and myself, feel empowered and have support on a daily basis,” a general studies student and center patron Casey Russell said.
The center also provides childcare for students with children through the Wee Care Center on campus. This allows parents to attend class or study sessions while their children are looked after.