The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) originated in England in 1855, and was begun and financed by women. The goal of the organization was to assist those girls and women who had left the protection of their home for wider fields of activity. The YWCA, a membership organization with a religious purpose, was open to any girl or young woman, providing them with the opportunity for physical, social, mental, and spiritual growth.
A branch of the YWCA had existed on the campus of the University of North Dakota since 1892. Meeting locations for the University YWCA were quite varied, including Davis Hall, Merrifield Hall, homes of members and the E.J. Lander building. While students made up the University branch, they were always advised by a committee of five to nine members, selected from faculty, wives of faculty, alumni and others associated with the larger YWCA. Interest in the University YWCA began to decline in the years following World War II. For this reason, University YWCA was officially disbanded on May 1, 1963.