For college students, many of the most important lessons are often learned outside the classroom. Bryant’s women-focused student organizations, says Danielle Latty ’24, president of the university’s chapter of Black Women’s Blueprint, help students shape their own college experience, find networks of support, and begin to make their mark on the world.
"There are so many times in our world that you see people try to quiet women's voices down,” she notes. “Being a part of an organization, and being a leader, gives you an opportunity to speak up. Because it's not just you. You're not just working on your own behalf; you're working on the behalf of a group of people.”
This Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of the university’s clubs and organizations that prepare women to thrive and excel, both on campus and beyond.
Black Women's Blueprint
The students of the Black Women’s Blueprint club work together to provide an inclusive place that supports women of color on campus through conferences, networking events, weekly meetings and other mediums. “We strive to be a resource for all of the women of color on this campus, since we all deal with so many similar struggles,” says Latty. “Our goal is to give them a safe space to talk, or discuss or complain, or seek advice without judgment.” By banding together, says Latty, the students can work with one another to address those struggles collectively.
Sharing experiences with one another can also be a powerful way to broaden one’s own horizons, says Latty. “One of the things I know that I personally have gained from the club is learning about other people and how their different perspectives shape who they are today. I don't think the same way today that I did four or five years ago.”
The group is currently organizing their annual Women of Color conference, which will bring a range of diverse women in leadership roles to campus to provide insight for Bryant students. “These women, they live this experience every day and can give you advice based on their own experience,” Latty says. “These women can tell you, ‘This is what happens in the professional world, and this is how you need to handle it.’ ”
Alliance for Women’s Awareness
Bryant’s Alliance for Women’s Awareness (AWA) works to bring people of all genders, ethnicities, and sexualities together to heighten awareness of women’s issues and gender empowerment on campus, as well as promote unity and appreciation of all social identities and backgrounds.
Fulfilling that mission takes a strong community, says President Brianna Walker ’23. “It can sometimes be difficult for women to find people they can talk to, or that they feel like understand them,” Walker notes. “The AWA is a place where women on campus can find other women for support and gives them a forum for sharing the issues facing them.”
In addition to panel discussions, a women’s support group, educational and advocacy sessions, and collection drives for organizations like the Sojourner House shelter in Providence, the group also helps sponsor events like Girls Night In, a “lock-in” event devoted to building sisterhood and having a good time. Taken together, the range of opportunities aids women-identifying students in building solidarity while also helping them find their place in the world.
The group also holds events that welcome male allies. “We want to make sure that everyone feels included within campus,” says Walker. “And it’s also an opportunity for men to learn a little bit about a woman's perspective.”
Women in Technology
For the members of Bryant’s Women in Technology club, increasing the representation of women in tech fields isn’t just a matter of equality; it’s a smart business decision. “To create something that speaks to everyone, and works for everyone, you need to involve everyone,” explains the club’s president, Data Science student Natalia Kuipers ’24. “Increasing women’s representation is so important because if you only have people from a single demographic, then you're not really understanding the world very well.”
The goal of Women in Technology, Kuipers says, is to foster an environment where students can come together to learn more about cutting edge industries and find advice. “Our organization gives students a chance to meet other people like themselves who share common interests and learn more about them together,” Kuipers notes.
Through the club, members can take what they’ve learned and examine all of the places it could take them in the future. “Data science touches literally every industry in the world, so when we get together, it’s a chance to talk about the different career paths for women in the field and look at the different directions that you could go in,” Kuipers notes.
Some of her favorite club events are the panel discussions, where alumni and other women working in technology come back to campus to share their experiences. “It’s an opportunity to learn from people who are a little bit older and further along in their careers than you,” she says.
The Women's Network
Talia Vicente ’23 has seen the power of networking firsthand. Her Bryant connections have helped her discover key internships and other professional development opportunities and, as president of Bryant’s chapter of The Women’s Network, she leads a group that aids Bryant students in finding invaluable mentors, potential career opportunities, and educational resources as they build their own paths to success.
“The Women’s Network is a place for unapologetically ambitious women to feel comfortable with each other and work on building each other up,” says Vincente.
There’s a certain art to networking, Vicente notes, and it can take some work to get good at it. “Some people think it’s as simple as walking up to someone and having an initial conversation—but it’s not, and it’s harder for some people than others,” she says, reflecting that it can be especially difficult for women to break into in male-dominated fields.
That’s where The Women’s Network comes in. In addition to providing opportunities for students to meet with potential women mentors, the club also helps them make the most of those connections. “We try to help our members with the how-tos and how nots of networking,” says Vicente. “Things like how to send that first message to connect, or when to follow up with someone, or what you should do to keep up connections.”
The club helps the members create connections with each other as well. “We have such a strong support system in the Bryant chapter,” Vincente states. “Every member's success feels like personal successes for all of us.”