Girl Up Michigan is a chapter of the United Nations initiative and is dedicated to empowering women within our local community and 6 focus countries: Guatemala, Malawi, India, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Liberia. We raise funds for different initiatives within these six countries. For example, we used to raise money for a school cycle initiative that provided females within these focus countries with bicycles so that they could safely and efficiently get to school. One of the reasons that many females within these countries drop out is because they are unable to get to school safely or their school is too far away. The bicycles were able to alleviate this problem and inadvertently encouraged more women to stay in school. The Girl Up organization is also dedicated to 5 pillars: education, health, freedom from violence, count, and leadership so we surround many of our efforts around these pillars.
Our organization is committed to the overarching goals of the United Nations initiative and is equally dedicated to providing women on campus with a space to discuss different social justice issues, have conversations about mental health and well being, and connect to a community of supportive individuals that empower each other to create and inspire change.
Our executive board consists of passionate students, freshmen to seniors, who are driven by Girl Up’s mission. In the past two years, we developed a graphic design committee and finance committee which consist of Girl Up members interested in learning more about a specific skill. Our graphic design committee chairs teach members basic social media marketing, photoshop, and editing skills and they’ve created some outstanding graphics for our Instagram! The finance committee dives deeper into professional aspects of the organization such as fundraising and grant work.
This year, we have had many conversations and workshops on different topics, such as voting, systemic racism, mental health and have worked on forming a community for Michigan students to feel comfortable, supported, and empowered within. In addition to our general meetings, we’ve hosted weekly socials for members, fundraisers to support local entities, such as the SafeHouse Center- a non-profit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Washtenaw County, Michigan-, collaborations with other student organizations on campus, and several Speaker Series events where we heard from successful and inspiring women leaders.
As leaders within this organization, we’ve been able to form lasting friendships and connections with others within the community. Through our roles, we’ve developed great leadership, advocacy, and problem solving skills in addition to gaining great experience working with teams and other organizations at Michigan. We’ve also developed a stronger understanding of social justice and found ways to educate, advocate, and motivate, even virtually. We’re extremely proud of Girl Up’s progress so far and hope to continue to serve as a place for collaboration, inspiration, and growth.