Bearkat Orgs: We Rise
April 27, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd
Bearkat Orgs is a series highlighting the works of SHSU’s many on-campus student organizations. For more information on campus organizations or information on how to join or start a campus organization, visit OrgLINK.
In 2021, a group on campus sought to provide a space where women at Sam Houston State University could feel free to discuss issues and triumphs important to them. They wanted to provide a safe space to women of all backgrounds and identities for the sake of uplifting one another and thus created We Rise.
The members of the organization’s executive team, Kensely Chavis, president, and Jasriel Williams, vice president of recruitment, were both part of the inaugural meetings. While Chavis jumped straight into a leadership role, Williams was able to experience the group as a member before moving on to lead.
“When I started as a member, I saw how they brought a lot of different girls together, especially freshmen and sophomores, it’s a new environment for them coming from high school,” Williams said. “It was impacting to see how the girls were comfortable coming to our meeting and expressing how they felt about being on a college campus, meeting new people; all that can be a scary thing.”
Chavis agreed and noted that the group’s meetings feature topics each month, focusing on providing helpful information for the students.
“At the beginning of each semester, we explore things like how to be a good roommate, how to schedule your classes and time,” Chavis said. “Then, we’ll move to more controversial topics like how you navigate a relationship in college, how to be a good friend in college, how to focus on your mental health, physical health and maintain relationships.”
Following these discussions, the women can dive into more heavy-hitting topics or split into groups to just chat about their days or recount experiences on campus.
Members also participate in community service initiatives, some on campus and others at establishments like SAAFE House and Good Shepherd Mission. Here, the women extend their compassion for one another toward those in need and provide them assistance however they can.
Leaders of We Rise have noticed that the group excels at pulling people out of their shells and encouraging them to do the same for others.
“I’m a bit of an introvert, but I did happen to meet a lot of girls while in the group and they’re close friends with me now,” Williams said. “They have gotten me out of my shell and being able to interact and make that new group of friends that are girls was really sentimental to me because I wouldn’t have known them if I didn’t join.”
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