Social Justice at NYU: How to Find Your Community
Our social justice– and identity-based clubs that help shape students’ experiences for the better are some of the most important on campus
NYU is one of the most diverse universities in one of the most diverse cities on the planet. As a result, it can sometimes be hard to answer the frequently asked question, “Who is the typical NYU student?”
There is no clear answer to this. But what immediately comes to mind when I think of our NYU student body is their passion for social justice in all forms. At NYU, activism and friendships go hand in hand.
With our international and diverse student body, conversations around difference and equity happen every day. These clubs help students find friends and become politically involved for the better. Read on for an alphabetical list of just a few amazing social justice groups we have at NYU (primarily at our campus in New York City).
Black Student Union
Founded in 1968, NYU’s Black Student Union (BSU) empowers all Black-identifying students and their allies on campus. With over 700 active members, the BSU is a prominent community on campus. These students work to ensure Black liberation in all its forms.
They offer a wide variety of events, ranging from their Black artistsʼ showcases and academic lectures with NYU professors to social game nights. If you’re a performer, you’ll also need to check out their Open Mic nights. Anyone who feels connected to the Black experience and hopes to advocate for equity will likely find their home in the Black Student Union. Connect with the BSU here!
CampGrrl works to ensure lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women and nonbinary students are more visible on campus. This club creates a community for these identities to connect safely and openly. While CampGrrl often collaborates with our LBGTQ+ Center, they still provide more specific events for members to develop friendships and educate the community.
Their Instagram showcases some of their amazing events, such as Video Game Nights, Platonic Speed Dating, and, my personal favorite, Queer Tarot Workshops.
The Bronfman Center is the main hub for Jewish student life at NYU. The Hillel Jewish Cultural Foundation is a part of their offerings on campus. Hillel is a great starting place for anyone to get involved with the Jewish spiritual or cultural experience. For example, they facilitate the Open Conversations on Race series, where students dialogue openly without judgment about their experiences.
Hillel of course offers plenty of social events. For example, they’ve hosted a virtual eggless challah baking workshop and bingo night. On top of that, you can also find professional development through the Rewired program. Rewired offers mentorship, résumé help, and career seminars related to the Jewish experience.
Latinos Unidos Con Honor y Amistad (LUCHA)
Like the Black Student Union, LUCHA has long-standing roots at NYU. Founded in 1971, this club is designed to encourage Latine students to make NYU the best possible university it can be for students of all backgrounds.
LUCHA is especially welcoming to incoming NYU students hoping to find their people on campus. In partnership with the Ecuadorian Student Association, they recently hosted an open Q and A for incoming first-year and transfer students. In addition, even in this age of Zoom meetings, they find ways to educate and entertain students. They recently did a fun Culture and Dance in Latin/O America series. They also host Kahoot! trivia nights that combine popular topics with Latine history and fun facts for those who like to get competitive!
Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program
This group works a little differently than the others on this list since it requires an application. MLK Scholars at NYU are selected for the program at the time of admission and join a small cohort of fellow student leaders. To be considered, you must indicate your interest on the Common Application and submit an accompanying essay on your social justice philosophies.
MLK Scholars participate in plenty of opportunities to act upon their passions for equity and justice. For example, students participate in annual teach-ins at New York City schools where they host workshops and seminars on the importance of activism. Scholars also receive funding to study away at any of our NYU sites with the goal of expanding their understanding of global activism practices.
Native American and Indigenous Students Group (NAISG)
Founded on Lenape land, NYU, with NAISG’s guidance, has acknowledged the importance of Indigenous history. NAISG provides community resources for students to unlearn our colonialist history.
This group is perfect for students seeking a close-knit community on campus. Their weekly meetings and Film Screening series makes it easy to find friends and learn Indigenous history all at once. These students also collaborate with our Native Studies Forum, which is part of NYUʼs history department. Providing hands-on faculty support and engaged student members, NAISG is an essential club for NYU students looking to find a community space that honors Indigenous history and practices.
This list is just a tiny sampling of the over 300 student clubs we offer at NYU. And, if there is a social justice club we donʼt offer, you only need a couple of signatures to make it a recognized student group. Whatʼs more, our faculty are just as engaged. They use their syllabi to encourage political activism.
Even though NYU students come from all walks of life, their differences bring them together. These groups make our campus a better place, and we hope to see you join during your own NYU journey!