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New club empowers women

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Vanessa Oceguera
Staff Writer

A new University club calls for young women to love themselves for who they are, to change “girl culture,” and to challenge the way women are viewed – or objectified – by society.

I Am That Girl, a nonprofit organization with more than 170 local chapters internationally, has added a chapter here.

Junior journalism major Autumn Simon plans to officially start the club next semester in the Fall.
“The purpose is shifting ‘girl culture,’ raising the girls’ standards for how they treat themselves and … empowerment,” Simon said.

I Am That Girl organization was first started when two young women met at a party and realized there needed to be more conversations around female empowerment, Simon said.

More than 60 percent of the University’s students are women, yet there are not a lot of forums to have conversations about issues women face, Simon said.

“There are not a lot of clubs that are socially based for conversations,” Simon said.

Simon said she plans to work with other clubs on campus like Shades of Essence.

Senior criminology major Ebony Fredieu is also the president of Shades of Essence, a women’s club solely based on mentoring and multicultural diversity and community engagement. Shades of Essence members work with David and Margaret girls home and mentor the girls once a semester.

Fredieu said I Am That Girl Club will do similar activates, but the clubs do have their differences.

“The differences would be who we work with,” Fredieu said. “One thing that’s going to be a lot different is next year we’re allowing boys into our club. It’s been brought to my attention that a lot of guys feel like they can’t speak up for Shades of Essence because they’re not allowed to be a part of it. And I didn’t realize the feminist population we have in men.”

I Am That Girl is all women.

Shades of Essence already works with the Multicultural Club and Black Student Union, Latino Student Forum, and the Chinese International Club through the Campus Activates Board.

“Now that we have I Am That Girl, we’re going to incorporate them in whatever we come up with for next year,” Fredieu said.

I Am That Girl club adviser and Artist in Residence Alma Martinez said that Simon came to her with ideas and a strong vision to start the club. Simon asked Martinez to be the club adviser.

“I was so impressed by Autumn that I signed on,” Martinez said.

Martinez said she believes that such activities are as important for college students as their formal education.

“These clubs create a structure of support, independence and responsibility that is as essential as the formal education that we provide as teachers,” Martinez said.

Vanessa Oceguera can be reached at vanessa.oceguera@laverne.edu.

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