Featured Stories

Club Crawl – A Virtual Involvement Fair Series

The mission of Student Center and Activities (SCA) is to create experiences and spaces that encourage students to discover their interests and find a sense of belonging. One of the key ways that this happens is through involvement in a student organization and SMU has over 200 student organizations to choose from on campus. 

Traditionally, the SCA team has hosted a large event called “A Night at the Club” to facilitate this involvement. Over 100 student organizations would set up informational tables in the Indoor Performance Center, and over 1,000 new Mustangs attended, stopping by the tables of the organizations they wanted to learn more about. Given the large crowd in an indoor space, it was necessary to provide a virtual alternative for students to learn about involvement opportunities.

That virtual alternative was Club Crawl, which was developed as ten stand-along virtual involvement fairs, each about 30-45 minutes long. Taking place from 5-6pm over two weeks, each session was specific to a certain category of student organizations, like fraternities and sororities, community service, academic interest, or multicultural organizations, just to name just a few examples! A total of 87 student organizations were represented at Club Crawl.

In each session, about fifteen or so student organization representatives gave brief introductions of their organization, including information about how to join, the benefits of membership, and typical activities of the club. After the introductions, student attendees asked questions via the Zoom webinar Q&A feature, including questions like, “how do I join? Can remote-only students participate? And, how will your club offer activities and opportunities that are COVID-safe?” 

Club Crawl provided an opportunity for students to interact in real-time – an aspect that was important to students surveyed about possible A Night at the Club replacement strategies. Students value the opportunity to converse with each other, even when that conversation cannot take place in person. Over 650 students attended one or more Club Crawl sessions; the highest-attended sessions included those for Greek life and service and philanthropy.

Featured Stories

Roots of a Movement: Hair to be Heard

I have been involved in various organizations since being at SMU but Fro easily won my heart. I recall feeling lucky to be on a campus that had a group that catered to such a niche but important cause for people like me.

Fro is a natural hair organization that serves as a safe space for Black men and women to discuss the stigma, versatility, and prowess of Black hair. The org also serves as a catalyst to disrupt the reigning beauty standard.

As soon as the opportunity to join the executive team arose, I took it. I wanted to be as involved as possible in the org that relates so heavily to experiences that myself and so many Black people identify.  

For many, hair is just hair, but for us it is an integral part of our culture. Our hair is peculiar, with unique textures and growth patterns. Historically, Black features have been degraded and the onslaught has continued into the present through workplace hair discrimination policies, school dress codes that disproportionately target natural hair styles, and general respectability politics. The Natural Hair Movement, and subsequently, orgs like Fro, encourage Black men and women to love their natural hair as opposed to taking drastic measures to disguise their natural textures. Fro also creates a platform for us to share our experiences with our hair from unlearning stigma to trading tips with one another.   

My first position in Fro was serving as Community Service Chair. I was tasked with finding a way to intersect the purpose and values of our organization with service. Through this, I created Crown Class. Crown Class is essentially a crash course on natural hair. During this “class” our executive team would partner with local community organizations or churches to teach young girls how to love and care for their natural hair. I was motivated to create this program because I felt that Black girls have a unique relationship with their hair that is not a universal experience. From a young age, the world casually teaches us that if our hair is a certain texture, it is unacceptable to go out in public with it in its natural state. It teaches us that kinky hair is ugly, unkempt, unprofessional. It tells us that for our texture, the rules of presentability are different, and that we have very little wiggle room. It tells us that our curls need to be chemically relaxed, straightened, or tucked under a wig. Crown Class works to foster self-love and confidence within young girls who are silently learning to dislike the genuinely beautiful things about themselves. Even if it is in the form of a three-hour workshop on a Saturday, I wanted Fro to go out of our way to reverse these lessons and encourage those girls to appreciate their natural selves first.  

Curlchella 2019 Executive Board

From initially serving as Community Service Chair to leading the organization as President, Fro has had a tremendous impact on me. Through curating service projects and organizing Curlchella, a black culture festival that seeks to bridge the gap between SMU and local Dallas residents, Fro has served as a beacon of support, community, and understanding for me. 

Fro has created a space for us to engage in important cultural dialogue, to break down the barriers of hair discrimination, and to contribute to the prosperity of the younger generation in embracing their natural selves. Fro has given me more than I could ask for and was critical in molding my undergraduate experience. The org transformed my leadership skills, gave me community, and taught me how to give back and unify. 

Anaka Adams (’21) is a rising senior from Dallas, Texas. She is majoring in Political Science and French and is affiliated with Virginia-Snider Commons.

Featured Stories

Advocacy, Friendship, and Growth

My time serving as President of the Multicultural Greek Council at Southern Methodist University is a time that I will never forget. The year was not without hardships, but it was also filled with growth, friendship, and constant support. 

Over the course of the 2019-2020 academic year, I ran meetings, hosted events, and attended leadership retreats and summitsall while balancing my involvement in other student organizations, a part-time job, and being a full-time undergraduate student. It was because of this ambitious schedule that I quickly learned to time manage like I never had before. I did my best to run effective and structured meetings in which I was mindful of not only my limited time, but that of my fellow students and advisor who all had busy schedules of their own. I learned to be honest about my capabilities and no longer feel hesitation when I needed to reach out for assistance. I took time to ensure things were done with care and quality the first time to avoid having to repeat and rework a task that had already been completed. Lastly, I was reminded of the fact that we are limited to 24 hours in a day.

Therefore, I made sure that everything I invested time into was meaningful, purposeful, and impactful. 

It was amongst all this constant movement that I was reminded of why I ran for President of the Multicultural Greek Council to begin with. I believe that each organization works to create a supportive and inclusive space for all SMU students, not just for its members, and this is what initially motivated me to run for President. With that notion in mind, I ran with the promise to become a voice in our SMU community and to advocate for all of its organizations. 

As President I was invited to sit on multiple student advisory boards, including the board of the Campus Cultural Intelligence Initiative, CIQ@SMU. It was here where I sat in a room full of campus leaders and University VIPs and was given the opportunity to not only listen to important conversations, but was encouraged to participate in them as well. It was in these meetings that I learned to speak up on behalf of the Multicultural Greek Council and voice our opinions because no one can ever truly begin to understand our perspectives and experiences if we do not take the time to try and explain them first.  

The conversations I was a part of, the friendships I gained, and the network I formed will follow me long after my oneyear term as President.

I proudly led, advocated for, and spoke on behalf of the Council, its organizations, and their members for an entire year to ensure their voice did not go unheard. 

Now prepared with the confidence gained from this experienceam excited to enter my final year as an undergraduate student at SMU.  

Victoria Garcia (’21) is a rising senior originally from Dallas. She is majoring in Computer Science and is affiliated with Ware Commons.