GWC History

Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein

Just as women provide the basis for ancestral structure in the created society, they supply the point of view, the thematic substance, and the dominant interest.

Excerpt from: Feminine Concerns in Contemporary Spanish Fiction by Women By Carolyn Galerstein, Scripta Humanistica, 1988.

Who Do We Think We Are?

Two rooms, a desk and a chair

The idea of a campus proposal to formalize support for women at UT Dallas began with discussions of female faculty who were meeting regularly as the Association for Professional Women (APW), which was primarily established in the early 90’s to address institutional policy issues, recruitment of faculty women, work climate, tenure, equity, maternity leave. Work towards intentional change was begging to be continued, as the original seeds were already planted through the efforts of Dr. Carolyn Galerstein, the first female dean at UT Dallas. The landscape starting changing and expanding at UT Dallas, and acknowledgement of our campus diversity was essential.

With two rooms, a desk and chair, the Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein Women's Center began in the old Student Life Suite of the Student Union. It was a warm and humid early fall of 1996. Our colleagues in Student Affairs welcomed us somewhat hesitantly as we stormed in, roamed the campus, knocked on doors and asked the question, “what do you want in a Women’s Center”? We assured our suite neighbors that we would not be burning bras in front of Founders, but that that we might be loud and proud. We were 30% women at UT Dallas, and RISING. We were educating the campus on the wage gap between men and women by serving 77% of a cookie for Pay Equity Day. We invited Gloria Steinem to tell us more feminist stories, and encourage young women to continue to be advocates for each other.

The GWC answered the call for support by counseling and advising on discrimination and equity issues, launched campus-wide training on sexual assault prevention, addressing safety, lighting and blue call boxes on campus, initiated the annual flu shot program for staff and a visiting mammogram van, identified gender-neutral bathrooms, established the first dedicated lactation facility, and invited students, staff, faculty and community to proactively participate in wellness activities such as yoga, meditation and feminist retreats. We recruited women of distinction from national campuses to speak of their accomplishments, invited industry professionals to share their journey, all the while honoring accomplished students, staff and faculty women at UT Dallas. We advised and mentored student organizations who expressed a passion for feminism, advocacy and service for community. The LGBTQIA community was acknowledged, needs assessments performed, and the GWC became the guiding force in developing Safe Zone Ally Trainings, scholarships, policy review, advocacy and community education to support an inclusive environment. We became a vital branch under the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, representing gender diversity at UT Dallas.

Today, our Center is located on the fourth floor of the Student Services Building, SSB 4.300, home to many of our drop-in students and friends of the Center. Visit soon and study in our lounge and lending library. Find out how you can be involved in one of the most recognized campus women’s centers in the country. WHOOOSH!

Lauren M. DeCillis, LMSW
Founding Director, Galerstein Women’s Center