Club Spotlight: GirlUp
By Prasanna Tati
GirlUp of NJIT is a brand-new, United Nations affiliated organization focused on raising funds for opportunities to help girls everywhere while offering empowerment, support, and education in hopes that girls will thrive and prosper in environments that may not necessarily support their dreams.
The NJIT chapter of GirlUp is specifically focused on “offering a safe-space, community, and support system for girls, especially on a campus where females are vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts”, says one of the club leaders, freshman Jenan Abu-Hakmeh. To achieve this, GirlUp will have various colloquia, seminars, discussion panels, networking events, and more to talk about gender inequality and how girls can achieve their goals and be pioneers and innovators despite the discouragement that may persist in their environment.
Recently, GirlUp hosted a movie and discussion colloquium in the Campus Center where they screened the film “He Named Me Malala” about Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize laureate ever, who she is, what she believes in, and where she finds strength. After the film, viewers participated in a discussion to share perspectives on Malala’s personality as well as how they would have reacted if they had to take on certain roles.
An interesting point of discussion was whether viewers, if they lived in a community where it was dangerous to send their daughters to school, would send their daughters to school. A plethora of viewpoints emerged. One attendee, Maliha Matthew, noted, “I just thought it was really cool to see what people thought about the situation. I mean, this is actually something I never would have thought of if I didn’t come here.”
Another attendee, Colin Bayne, said, “Even in terms of men, I found it really important that Malala’s father was a continuous source of encouragement and support. Malala herself said she wouldn’t be who she is today without his love.”
GirlUp encourages both males and females to join their club for meetings on Wednesday during common hour. Just as Malala’s father helped empower Malala on her journey as an advocate for underprivileged girls, male students can empower female students to become leaders on campus and even simply succeed in classes.
GirlUp actually splits its members up into committees that meet at a time that is best for the members while working towards a common purpose. If anyone has specific questions or comments, contact Jenan Abu-Hakmeh or Anna Vallejo. In addition, GirlUp would like to send a shoutout to the Murray Center for hosting the start-up and offering unwavering support.
Be sure to follow GirlUp on Facebook and Instagram for updates and info!