New Women’s Resource Center coordinator runs ‘brave space’ for women

by Nicole Sazegar, Senior Staff Writer

When Jessica Nare graduated from San Diego State with a graduate degree in women’s studies, all she was sure of was that she wanted to create social change for women. When the Women’s Resource Center came to fruition at SDSU, she knew she had found her dream job.

While working as the Women’s Resource Center coordinator, Nare has turned the Women’s Resource Center into a “brave space” where people can feel comfortable talking about difficult topics while being supported by others.

“I think my biggest goal is just to create a space where people want to spend time and connect with one another and build a community,” Nare said. “(I also want to) sort of have a hub where people who are interested in these issues can convene and connect and get to know one another.”

As coordinator, Nare is tasked with managing the space and the student employees. She also plans programming and attempts to engage students on campus in the Women’s Resource Center.

“It’s been super fun seeing people connecting here and talking about issues in the center,” she said. “I think we’re already seeing people gravitate toward this space and using it to get the resources and support they need to get their needs met, and that’s really exciting.”

Nare’s involvement with the Women’s Resource Center stems from her activism as an undergrad for social justice issues.

Seeing her peers struggle with the messages young women receive from society every day frustrated her enough to spark her interest in women’s issues.

“I was in a lot of activism on campus as an undergrad student, so it’s exciting to see that the conversation has progressed a lot, but it’s sort of frustrating to see (sexual violence) is still happening, and it’s still something we have to work to address,” Nare said. “It’s hard in social justice — there’s no quick solution. There’s nothing that you can do to create change overnight.”

By working with SDSU, Nare and the Women’s Resource Center have big goals to create safe places on campus.

Nare hopes to consolidate lactation spaces on campus, and centralize that information so students can register through the Women’s Resource Center website to get access to these spaces.

She also plans to supplement sexual violence prevention and education programming on campus and offer more opportunities for students to learn about sexual violence and receive training to prevent it from occurring on campus.

Nare’s leadership skills have allowed employees at the Women’s Resource Center to help the center grow.

“She allows for us to grow and for us to apply what we would like to do in this center,” women’s studies graduate student Marcie Rojas said. “She guides us, but also leaves us room to come up with our own ideas and the kind of programming we would like to do.”

The Women’s Resource Center has only been open since the beginning of last semester, but it has already become a space where cultural change is supported, women are celebrated and serious issues get discussed.

“We’re a space that sort of centers on women’s experiences,” Nare said. “We’re also interested in thinking about other forms of identity and thinking about race, sexual orientation, gender identity and social class.

“This is really the place where those conversations can take place and where people can learn more and explore.”