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An ode to the JKWC

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

I graduate in less than three weeks. I GRADUATE COLLEGE in less than three weeks. The University of Scranton, my home for the past four years, will soon be just a chapter in my book. I loved my time here, and I will surely miss it.

I will miss the breakfast sandwiches from first floor. I will miss having a roommate in a little dorm room. I will miss studying under one of the big purple umbrellas on the green.  I will miss all the ladies at Starbucks. But most importantly, I will miss the Jane Kopas Women’s Center, and all the incredible individuals involved.

My biggest regret from college isn’t that I didn’t go out enough. It’s not that I wish I studied harder. It’s that I didn’t get involved on campus sooner than I did.

For my Community Health Education internship in my last semester, I was selected to work with the Jane Kopas Women’s Center. My eagerness for getting involved with the center was due to my passion for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and empowering others to help with self-efficacy and body acceptance. I had no idea the impact working at this center would have on me. Before working there, I was not an avid current events reader, nor did I even know the real meaning of feminism, nor did I have any interest in “social justice” topics because I didn’t even know what that meant with certainty.

Within the first month of my internship, I began identifying myself as a feminist, and was damn proud of it. For the record, a “feminist” is someone who feels passionate about equality for all human beings, regardless of sexual orientation, race, identified gender, socioeconomic status, ability, etc.  I had no idea the feminism issues included topics like fighting against societal views of men and masculinity, fighting for varying abilities, fighting for gender and race inclusivity, or empowering those of LGBTQ+. Before working for the JKWC, I straight up thought feminism was women who hate men. I hadn’t educated myself enough to know what it really stood for, nor did I understand the world around me and how many serious issues there are.

Working for the center changed my life because it showed me how to look at something bigger than myself.

One event that impacted me immensely was our school’s Take Back The Night- a night that speaks to ending sexual violence. Starting with an educational Pre Rally to get more people aware of issues regarding sexual violence, then a march to protest, and finally, a speak out, which survivors of sexual violence can share their stories. I had no idea how many students at our school alone have experienced issues like this, and I would have never been moved to find out if it wasn’t for the JKWC.

Through the short span of time I have been at the center, I have developed skills and learned so much about the world around me. I did become an advocate for National Eating Disorders Awareness week yes, but I did so much more. I learned about street harassment and how dangerous it actually is. I have explored the topic of sexual violence, and how important it is to bring light to this topic, especially to the college setting. I have learned about varying abilities, and I’ve completely stopped using the word “disability’ or “disabled” when describing someone, because I just don’t think those words are accurate. I have educated myself on BOTH sides of the political spectrum and see where each side has strengths and weaknesses. I have learned how to stand up to racist comments, and no longer be a bystander around oppressive “jokes”. 

For the past five years of my life, my actions have been dictated by my eating disorder and body image struggles, because they brought me down so low that I thought my body’s appearance was all I had to offer to the world; that fitness and nutrition were who I was. I fell into “diet culture” and patriarchal views of what women are supposed to look like, act like, be like, to be accepted. I still have strong passion for nutrition and health, but the gym is on the back burner for now, because I know it will always be there. It’s not my focus right now. Let me tell you, for someone who only obsessed with dieting and working out for years, it is a revelation to have my mind be somewhere else for a change.

Above everything I have learned from the JKWC, I have learned to empower myself. This is something I was clearly lacking my entire life. I let my negative thoughts control my life for so long, I submitted to them and they became who I was. Since I’ve looked at the world differently, I’ve also looked at myself differently. I have learned to value myself as a person, inside and out. I have thoughts that need to be heard. I have passions that must be shared. I have a drive to help others in ways I have never have before. I matter. I am enough. I am fantastic.

For anyone who feels like they don’t have a direction or finds themselves feeling down a lot, I encourage you all to get involved in something unexpected. When I was a first year student, I was mainly interested in partying, and thought clubs on campus were kind of lame to be honest. Now, with graduation coming up, I wish I could go back in time and force myself out of my comfort zone and get involved on campus.

When I was a senior in high school, with my college career ahead of me, almost everyone I talked to told me “everyone finds themselves in college”. And up until this semester, I honestly didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know my full potential; I didn’t empower myself to get to know the person I am. The best relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Go out and find that person. Get out of the niche of living for the weekends, partying and being in a perpetual state of hungover-ness. Go make a difference today. And if you can’t make a difference, educate on issues you’re passionate about. And if you’re not passionate about anything, FIND SOMETHING. It will be worth it, I promise.

Thank you Scranton, for an amazing four years. As I leave this University at the end of May, I will remember everything I’ve done. But most importantly, I will remember what sparked my passion for what I will begin to do when I leave. I am graduating with aspirations so big, it even overwhelms me at times. I want to be educated. I want to advocate. I want to live life to the fullest, every day. I want to make a difference in this world, and damn it, I know I will.

Thank you to the Jane Kopas Women’s Center for igniting my inner soul. With confidence, I truly will go forth and set the world on fire.




Hey everyone! I'm Kate Foley, a junior at the University of Scranton. I study Community Health Education, Counseling and Nutrition. I love coffee, the gym, chipotle, edm, my friends and family, and am obsessed with my black pug named Olive. Soon to be a Certified Personal Trainer via the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Samantha is an East Coast girl from Pennsylvania with a New York City attitude and a Florida mindset. Her shopping habits are contagious; she has inherited them from her mom (they say mother knows best, right?). Samantha is a University of Scranton senior majoring in Strategic Communication with a minor in Business. She is the Campus Correspondent of Her Campus Scranton, which she co-founded in September 2014 with her best friend, Elise. She is also the captain for Scranton Love Your Melon and secretary of the University of Scranton's Business Club. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, @samanthaamilazzo @samanthaliza_