by Wesley White
The Women’s Center, or the “Wick” as it is now called, is one of the largesthouses on campus. Though located on central campus in full view of the Pub and BC, it is often viewed as “off-limits” to men. This year, though, the residents of the Women’s Center are trying to change that perception, and “Brews with Bros” is one of these efforts. Beginning this year, Brews with Bros is a 21+ BYOB event at the Women’s Center that encourages guys to just come and hang out.
According to Avery Kelly (C’14), a Wick resident: “first and foremost the event is meant to promote more male participation in Wick events,” and for a Friday night event in Sewanee, the Wick surpassed many fraternities as the go-to hang out location, with a reported 100 to 150 stopping in throughout the night, beginning at 7:30 p.m. for men and 9:00 p.m. for women. Within minutes the Wick was full of bros with brews trickling in and wandering aimlessly around, often with expressions of wonder on their faces at being inside what they formerly considered a “forbidden zone” for the first time.
The event is just one of many that the women at the Wick have started to increase male participation in the house. Kelly described the event as having “no agenda, we just want people to come together and hang out!” and participation shows that this kind of atmosphere seems to be what men around campus want out of a Sewanee event. Brews with Bros was not advertised officially, but through word of mouth and Facebook. People flocked to the event, packing the Women’s Center with people and good conversation. This is exactly the image the new Women’s Center is trying to project. Even the new name “Wick” was designed, according to Kelsey Koontz (C’14), co-director of the house, to create a new image of the Women’s Center as an accessible house for all, where people of all types can and should come to hang out and build our Sewanee community. A survey taken earlier this year on student perceptions of the new name is still being analyzed, but many appear positive about the change.
As explained by Kelly, “The idea is that feminism is for everyone. More than anything the Wick should be about fostering community in Sewanee, and we can’t do that without male and female participation.” This sentiment is echoed in other public Wick events, such as the “Female Orgasm” talks earlier in the year, as well as the Sewanee Monologues, Tuesday Toasts, and soon to come, “FeMENism,” which will bring several male students who are self-proclaimed “feminists” to discuss their views, in order to foster understanding of the often misunderstood term for both genders.