Women of Color at NYU? I Got You!
NYU is a large institution with several resources. For women of color, there are clubs and resources that ensure a sense of community and well-being. Here’s how women of color can thrive at NYU!
Clubs That Celebrate Women of Color
The Womxn of Excellence, Strength, and Tenacity (WEST) club operates on the three pillars of sisterhood, leadership, and community service. WEST offers a space for womxn of color to be seen, heard, and celebrated.
WEST collaborates with other NYU clubs to collectively communicate about being a womxn of color at a predominantly white institution. This is also a space to network with WEST alumni who offer advice about life postgraduation. The yearly WEST retreats are geared toward creating sisterhood through team building activities while Pink Week hosts several events in service to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
When I first arrived at NYU, I felt a bit disconnected to my identity, so I decided to go to a WEST event that my roommate recommended. I haven’t looked back since because I found people who have gone through similar experiences as me. I became involved with the club’s initiatives such as donating sanitary pads and Pink Week, when we all walk in solidarity for breast cancer awareness. All of this led to me becoming the creative director of the e-board. In that role I celebrate the club through photography and photoshoots. What’s more, I had the opportunity to host a meeting about how to thrive at NYU, not just survive. There, we discussed life at NYU as well as recommended apps that the seniors have found helpful in their academic journey.
You can follow @west_nyu on Instagram!
Like WEST, NYU has other clubs in support of women of color, such as the Organization of Black Women (OBW). The club’s mission is to empower Black women by encompassing a welcoming community. Having intimate conversations about race, gender, and how to navigate life at NYU is OBW’s main priority. OBW believes that knowledge is an essential tool for empowerment and hosts networking opportunities and community service outings. For example, the menstrual drive raised several donations for period hygiene products.
At OBW’s Wisdom Wednesday, we discussed the true meaning of friendship, which challenged me to reflect on how I serve my community. And I felt celebrated at the Natural Hair Expo, which allowed me to be surrounded by women who look like me.
Be sure to follow them on Instagram at @obwnyu.
Resources Aiding Mental Health
In addition to communities, women of color should turn to resources that benefit their mental health. MindfulNYU is one of the wellness resources that focus on de-stressing tools, such as free meditation and yoga. This award-winning initiative hosts daily classes and workshops for students and staff. Throughout my membership at WEST and OBW, I have learned that self-care is needed for me to reduce burnout and find balance in my schedule. The Inner Balance academic course allows students to study stress management and mindfulness practices.
My personal favorite is the meditation room at the Center for Global Spiritual Life, which offers 20-minute reservations. I first utilized this space when I was nervous about my first performance, taking time to breathe before my show. And meditation is now a part of my preshow routine. This has given me freedom in my performances. I encourage all students, especially those of color, to find spaces that bring them a sense of peace.
The NYU Wellness Exchange Is Here for You!
The NYU Wellness Exchange also offers mental health services and a 24-hour hotline that provides wellness support. The reduced-cost counseling has helped me cope with stressful times. The Stress Busters program brings a smile to NYU students’ faces as they organize several events. My personal favorite is when puppies are available to pet and play with during finals!
Empowerment Through Exercise
I encourage women of color to also engage in recreational activities as a way to find community while maintaining physical health. Exercise can be used as a tool to de-stress, and I find this super helpful. Going to the gym may seem daunting, but the Weight Training for Women program offers classes dedicated to women. This allows you to make friends in an active environment! When my schedule gets busy, I ask my friends to come join me in the gym so we can catch up and exercise together. I highly recommend prioritizing time dedicated to your mental well-being and social life.