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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 19, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Commentary: Club emphasizes empowerment and community involvement

There is a wide array of clubs on campus, but many do not compare to Queen Strength. When I was a freshman at Ithaca College I knew that I was interested in women’s empowerment as well as fitness, but I was unsure how I could channel these interests as a new student on campus. I was already attending other clubs that fit my interests and passions, but I felt like there was more I could be a part of.

When I was introduced to Queen Strength I remember feeling ecstatic; a group of girls working out together and empowering each other. What could get better than that?! Queen Strength motivated me to go to the gym and enhanced my knowledge of different workouts as well as the purpose behind them. Later, as a sophomore, I became part of the Queen Strength e-board, serving as treasurer. This helped broaden my perspective of Queen Strength’s mission and values as a club on campus. Now, as a junior, I have witnessed how far Queen Strength has come, as well as how we can continue to make an impact moving forward.

When joining the e-board, I realized that Queen Strength was much more than just working out with a group of girls. Queen Strength is essentially a women’s empowerment club on campus. We motivate girls not only physically but mentally as well. We cultivate our mental health through our “Girl Talk” that we host once a month. In our girl talks, we pose icebreakers and questions surrounding important topics such as mental health, societal standards, politics, etc. We pose meaningful questions that may be more personal to our lives or may give an insight to our ways of thinking. This is a chance for us to build a stronger bond outside of our usual group workouts.

Although working out with a group of girls can help establish a bond like no other, incorporating these girl talks allows us to foster discussions that create a more intimate environment. This helps us become vulnerable with one another by revealing different sides of ourselves that may not be perceived during our workout sessions. Fostering a bond with one another is essential because it can help girls step out of their comfort zone and participate in our workout sessions without feeling judged or self-conscious. It also allows girls to become closer with one another as well as with those in the e-board.

We also encourage girls to be present members of the community. There are many ways to make an impact and a presence as a college student that go beyond the student’s work and achievements in a classroom. It is important to step outside and make a change for the greater good of the community. Examples of this include volunteering off campus or attending events. Because of these values that we as Queen Strength hold, we invite our club members to join us for monthly community events that may be expanding their participation on campus or off. Queen Strength serves as a liaison for our members to make a change, make an impact, and ultimately empower themselves and others to be well. As a group, we have attended on-campus banquets that are held by Ithaca College clubs, and we have also invited girls to join us for Service Saturdays. These are examples of how we encourage girls to step out into the community while furthering a bond between our club members and e-board members. Our goal is to further encourage our members to join us in completing important volunteer work in the surrounding neighborhood of Ithaca College — something that is essential to the well-being of any community.

As a Latina, I am a minority of Ithaca College’s student body. As a minority, and someone of a low-income background, the stressors that arise when assimilating to college life — making friends, making an impact, maintaining grades, etc., — are much more enhanced. Because of this, it is my passion to be an active community member and leader. I feel as though it is my duty to stand up for everyone; especially those of us who may be on the more difficult end of the spectrum when adjusting to life in college. It is important to be represented as a minority, and this can be done by becoming a leader myself. As a Latina, I am also exposed to many negative stereotypes surrounding women and the concept of machismo. I am a strong contender against machismo or sexism and strongly believe that women can accomplish anything they set their minds to. Because of this, I admire the work that we, Queen Strength, do as a club on campus because we are here to uplift all girls while proving that we can be independent women who are strong-minded, strong-willed, and capable of tackling any life endeavor!