This weekend’s Womens College tour for the Girl’s Initiative group was an amazing success and a great experience for all involved. Tai and I left with ten 10th and 11th graders on Friday for Springfield, MA where there are a number of Womens Colleges close by.
On Saturday we started the day with a cold, yet thorough tour of Bay Path University. The girls were very attentive and polite and impressed our tour guides with their numerous questions. We were then treated to brunch on campus where the admissions officer gave us gift bags and a held a raffle and sat with us to ask the girls questions and talk about her experience as a student. Then we went to Smith College were we watched the tail end of their match with Williams. Team member Carly then organized some of her teammates to spread out on different courts to play with our girls. We followed that with a impromptu panel on court where the girls talked about their experiences being student athletes, going to an women’s college and their personal experiences being at Smith. Then Carly gave us a tour of the campus. While at the Student Center a group of students from the Black Students Association came to our group and offered to answer questions about what it was like to be women of color at Smith. This was so generous (since they obviously had taken a break from studying nearby) and an AMAZING opportunity for the girls to get a different student perspective. This ended up going on for nearly and hour as the girls asked insightful questions and the students gave then honest and thought provoking answers, bringing up things that the girls hadn’t considered about college.
After we left for the hotel and had a break for the girls to hang out, go swimming or play in the game room. Over dinner we asked the girls what they had enjoyed so far which led into a very lively discussion about race, gender, economic inequality and the college experience that went on throughout the entire meal. Everyone had something to say and had questions about things they had heard throughout the different tours. When we got home we treated the girls to a movie in one of the rooms and had a night in to do nails and face masks (it is a Girl’s Initiative trip after all!).
The next day we set off for amount Holyoke where alums Dachelle and Brandy sat us in the living room of their dorm and talked at great length about their experience. A lot of the discussions from the previous night came up which was nice. They gave us a tour which ended at the athletic center where Brandy’s coach met us and talked about playing squash in college, what the girls would need to do to do that and then showed us around the facility. Throughout the weekend many of the girls expressed interest in one or more of the schools this weekend and definitely seem open to applying and hopefully attending a womens college!
Thanks to Tai for helping lead this weekend and supplying the masks and nail polish!!