Past President Mary Dover tells local news viewers what this project means for Si3R
Because of the hard work of Past President Mary Dover and other members, the women of Washington State University Tri-Cities now have an on-campus wellness lounge.
The Women’s Lounge, which supports self-care for WSU Tri-Cities students, faculty and staff, was formally dedicated on September 27, 2022. A plaque in the room reads, “Donated by Soroptimist International of Three Rivers to support the empowerment of women and girls.”
"For our club, this is a physical demonstration of our partnership with WSU-TC,” Mary tells KNDU-TV during an interview. “It's really exciting."
A Long Road to Fruition
Mary first approached WSU Program Coordinator Kelly Gabel about sponsoring a project in 2019. She asked her about the barriers that keep women from completing their education. Kelly replied that nursing mothers had a difficult time attending classes while also taking care of their children.
From that initial idea, Mary and Kelly developed a plan for a place that offers privacy, comfort and support for nursing mothers and all women on campus. In no time, the members of Si3R agreed to support it.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. WSU shut down. Contractors were hard to find. Resources were scarce. Si3R members continued work on the project even though it would take years to build and outfit the lounge.
Finally, It Happens
To everyone’s delight, the WSU Women’s Lounge dedication ceremony takes place three years later. The room has a rocking chair, footstool, refrigerator, storage shelves, lamps, table and a changing station with diapers, baby wipes, women’s hygiene products, soap, antiseptic lotion, tissues and paper towels, which will be replenished through Si3R donation.
WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes says, “The Soroptimist mission to improve the lives of women and girls by sponsoring and implementing programs that lead to social economic empowerment and the advancement of the status of women deeply aligns with our goal to foster student success through providing a safe and welcoming environment and offering holistic support.”
For Si3R, it’s a great legacy and a perfect representation of the Soroptimist spirit.