Feeling empowered and confident is extremely important to her, said Shay Kaminski, co-founder of EmpoWer, the first women’s empowerment club on Marshall University’s campus.
“Growing up, I often found it challenging to embrace my femininity and felt like in order to be considered a cool girl, I had to hide feminine qualities,” said Kaminski, an Alpha Xi Delta member and biology major.
That all changed, she said, when she came to college.
“When I came to college and also joined a sorority, I was surrounded around a group of women that empowered me and encouraged me to be myself,” Kaminski said. “I learned and was encouraged that it was okay to like girly things and do my nails and hair.”
This encouragement, along with the encouragement of Beth Wolfe, director of continuing education, inspired her and Grace Edmunds, sorority sister and co-founder, to form EmpoWer, Kaminski said.
Since Wolfe noticed there was not a women’s empowerment club on campus and Edmunds and Kaminski’s were interested in women’s empowerment and feminism, Wolfe approached the pair and pitched the idea of starting the club, Edmunds said.
After creating a name and establishing the club, Kaminski and Edmunds had their first meeting last week with 15 attendants.
“I want the women of Marshall to feel important and to have an outlet for anything they feel like they can’t discuss around others,” Edmunds.
Although Edmunds said the club is in its beginning stages, she and Kaminski plan to become an active part on campus and the community. The club plans to do many community outreach projects and hopes to organize a feminine hygiene product drive on campus and volunteer with local women’s and children’s shelters, Edmunds said.
“Even though we only have two meetings left in the semester, I’m really excited to see what will come,” Kaminski said.
EmpoWer welcomes any student into its meetings, and students do not have to go to every meeting to become a member, Kaminski said.
The next EmpoWer meeting will be April 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Harris Hall 229.
“I want others to recognize and understand their strength, importance and power they have as women,” Edmunds said.
Paige Leonard can be contacted at [email protected]