Black women on Albion College’s campus, both students and alumni, have been doing phenomenal work to create a more inclusive space for marginalized students.
From Ida B. Wells to Angela Davis to Laverne Cox, Black women have historically been on the front lines as trail blazers for change while simultaneously being one of the most disrespected, unprotected and neglected women in this country and around the world. Despite being constantly struck down by society, Black women continually rise up.
Black women on Albion’s campus are no different. Despite all the trials and tribulations they have to face on an everyday basis, Black women at Albion continue to take charge in leadership roles and make campus a place for the better. And they deserve their credit.
The Pleiad’s “Black Women Winning” series aims to highlight Black women on campus and all they have achieved and continue to achieve.
Lauryn Givens, a junior from Macomb, is involved in a variety of organizations on campus, all of which greatly differ from one another. In addition to being a cheerleader and a Smooth Transitions mentor, Givens is also involved in the honors program, the Ford Institute, Alpha Xi Delta and is the historian of Black Student Alliance (BSA).
“Being a part of all these organizations tells a different story, which makes me more well rounded,” said Givens.
Givens takes her experiences as pieces of her journey that she can grow from.
“Smooth Transitions Mentor personally gives me a sense of leadership,” said Givens. “We’ve all been first year students. We know what it’s like to transition from a large city, a small city, having that routine you aren’t used to. Being a mentor allows me to know that my advice is valuable and I can be a guide no matter how much or how little you know.”
While Smooth Transitions has given Givens a sense of leadership, BSA has impacted the way she looks at the Black community.
“I’ve gained knowledge from Black Student Alliance,” said Givens. “I feel like when I came on campus, even though I am an African American woman coming from a predominantly white neighborhood, I was not really knowledgeable about Black history, the different achievements and how much of an impact we have on a community.”
In addition to learning about Black history through BSA, as an honors student, Givens has been challenged to explore her academic interests.
“I feel like honors pushed me to go out of my comfort zone as far as taking courses that surround art, economics and things that don’t pertain to my major but still will help me in the future,” said Givens. “It allowed me to have an experience where I know I am capable of doing any work that I put my mind to.”
Givens has also stretched herself out of the typical academic organizations and clubs to try something new.
“I came to college not as confident as I am today, and I’ve never done a sport in my life,” said Givens. “Coming here and trying out for the cheerleading team and actually making the team made me feel like I can do anything. Having that sense of pride and spirit for Albion makes me feel good.”
“When I had Public Service 101 with Eddie [Visco] and Patrick [McLean], I actually enjoyed that class when we actually started talking about topics that pertain to everyday life like youth incarceration in the Black community, how we can form regulations or rules,” said Givens. “I feel like the Ford Institute as a whole makes me feel like I actually have an impact on the world even if I’m just a regular citizen, knowing how to go out and vote and how to lobby are all important.”
Being that Givens is a part of so many activities, she has to take time and prioritize work and play.
“I feel each role that I play on campus offers something different. I factor what’s important and what’s not,” said Givens. “For example, as far as being a mentor, I include that into my personal life where I don’t have to think of it as a job or just another thing on my plate. It’s something that I enjoy.”
With all that Givens has taken from these curricular and extracurricular activities, she feels armed and ready for what’s to come in the future.
“As a Black woman, I am learning how to make an impact and change the world everyday,” said Givens.