Climbing wall hosts Women on the Wall event to make the REC more inclusive

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Jack O'Donnell, Sports Reporter

Women on the wall (W.O.W) is a climbing event for people who identify as women and people who identify as non-binary to come and experience the climbing wall at the Recreational Eagle Center (REC). It is held every other Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.

“This is a two-hour safe space to come hang out with your gal pals and climb without the pressure of a male-dominated space,” said REC employee Kayla Dudek speaking on what the event is. “It has been really nice to see people come and test things that may be out of their comfort zone.” 

There is no registration fee or extra fees for the equipment during the event. The REC and its staff are focused on making the REC a more inclusive environment not as much about profit.  

This is not a new event at the REC and has been going on since 2019, but it doesn’t make it less exciting for our campus. “It has been very successful so far this semester, we have had a lot of new faces and it helps provide a space to talk about the disparities in the REC community,” Dudek speaks on the impact they have seen with W.O.W.

Because of the W.O.W event, there is also a female night in the fitness center and that is keeping up with the theme of making a more inclusive environment inside the REC.

Unfortunately, the REC and its employees have seen a negative response from other users of the facilities. “We have faced some genuine push back and have had to fill out hate/bias reports,” Dudek explains “I have also had to have some tough conversations with people who stick around and oppose these events, but I look at these conversations as more of planting a seed in their head as opposed to an argument.”  

But the main goal, said Dudek, is to include a diverse group of people into the REC and provide them with their own opportunities that may have not been offered before.  

“These nights provide a space for everyone to feel welcome at the REC. There tends to be a dominant identity here of people who look fit and are experienced in what they do,” said Dudek speaking on opportunities these events provide for students. There is no previous experience required and it is encouraged for beginners to come and try.”

In the Spring there will be an all-day W.O.W event sometime in April that Dudek is working alongside student coordinators to hopefully continue well after they graduate.