Women empowerment on UIndy campus

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In the month of October, the Women in Leadership club organized a hygiene drive for the Wheeler Mission Shelter in downtown Indianapolis. They hosted a table in Schwitzer Student Center from Oct. 25 to 29 in search of feminine hygiene products that could be donated to the women’s shelter. Residence hall liaison and senior public health major Hannah Crouch is a part of the Women in Leadership club and was a part of the drive that they held.

October was domestic violence awareness month, and the Women in Leadership group helped the shelter with the hygiene drive for the people who needed it, according to Crouch. She said although the group did not do much this semester for domestic violence awareness month aside from the drive, they still advocate for women’s safety and empowerment throughout the month. 

“Women in Leadership here on UIndy’s campus helps to empower people and let people know that if they are involved in any kind of domestic violence interactions, that it’s not necessarily something that they should feel stuck in,” Crouch said. “They can go on and get help or that we can provide resources or advertise them for different people, that there are different resources there and of course domestic violence is not only an issue that women or other female identifying individuals experience, but there is a vast majority of people that do that identify as women.” 

Crouch’s position within the club is to give out information within the residence halls. She said when she was asked to join the club it was an easy answer of yes and she has a passion for all of the things expressed within the group’s organization.

“I am really passionate about equality and making things equitable, very passionate about feminism as well,” Crouch said. “So when I was asked to get involved there was no doubt in my mind about it.”

Junior business management major and President of Women in Leadership Arianna Stephens joined the club her freshman year and has been a part of it ever since. As president of the club she said she likes being involved around campus as well as making people want to be involved and wanting women to feel empowered.

“For me it’s helping women … realize that they can have power in the world as well and I just want to help people try to achieve that and also sort of a community of women that want to be supported as well,” Stephens said.   

As president of the Women in Leadership club, Stephens said she enjoys being involved throughout campus. She is also the orientation leader at UIndy, so when the opportunity came for her to be president of the club she was excited to see where it would go. 

“I ended up being president and I was like I want to do that. I just like being involved around campus a lot as well as making friends and [getting] other people involved because that’s what I like to do,” Stephens said. 

The club has impacted Crouch in many ways as well, she said, and it changed her viewpoint on campus life. Through that, they are able to talk about different empowering activities that are able to help shelters in need. Everything donated from the hygiene drive goes directly to the shelter, Crouch said. 

“We just hosted a hygiene drive, so I think that’s opened my eyes to different issues that a lot of women shelters have and a lot of issues in terms of equality and giving women the leadership positions that they need on campus,” Crouch said. 

Women in Leadership also helps bring awareness to domestic violence through empowering women, Crouch said. They meet once a month in the student center to discuss women’s empowerment along with other important topics that can help people around campus, according to Crouch. 

“I think we want people to know that UIndy is a place for empowerment, and we want everyone to feel very comfortable and feel that even in their campus life they can get involved and that getting involved [with Women in Leadership] here makes it a little bit easier for people to get involved within their professional life,” Crouch said. 

Although the hygiene drive has ended, there is still an opportunity for people to donate products for the Wheeler Mission shelter. Crouch said students can message them directly on Instagram (@wiluindy) if they have any questions about where to donate the items. There could be another drive in the future.  

“I think it kind of depends on the different organizations or if different factors in our community need more items,” Crouch said. “I think we could definitely look into doing another one if that is a big need.” 

Stephens said in the future they are looking to host more events, including something closer to finals week this semester. They also have an email sign up list that is open for people to join if they are interested in getting involved or even getting more information on what the club entails. 

“We have stuff planned that we want to do,” Stephens said. “We want to have a women’s panelist come talk to everyone and do stuff like that. We also want to do a networking event to help them make business cards or something like that if they’d like. So just really making them feel connected to other women as well and just on campus In general. As well as making them feel welcomed to join.”

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