In an effort to connect underrepresented students on campus, Kingswood Oxford’s Girls Group of Color held their first event of the year during preseason week. The event was an outdoor brunch, hosted on campus on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Although most Wyverns have packed schedules during the week of preseason, the group felt that it was important to schedule an event to familiarize students with one another before the school year started.
The group’s leaders include seniors Amrita Natarajan as Head of Finances, Kyleace Hunter as Head of Communications, Ashley Taffe as Head of Event Planning, and Olivia Reynolds as Head of Outreach. “With the pandemic, there’s been limited chances to host social events the past two school years,” Olivia said. “Many of the students in the Upper School don’t know each other, and we wanted the girls to be able to connect in a relaxed environment before our first meeting.”
The main dishes of the brunch included mac and cheese and Subway sandwiches, with accompaniments of muffins, a fruit platter, and a charcuterie board. “I was a bit surprised just by how hectic the planning was,” Olivia said. “There’s a lot of pieces that have to come together in order to host a successful gathering.” The efforts of the group did not go unrecognized, however, as there was a noticeable turnout at the brunch. Many students attended, taking the opportunity to meet new faces and reconnect with friends.
“I decided to attend this event because I support what the group stands for, and I was interested in hearing about the experiences of the members of the group,” senior Naomi Wong said after the brunch.
Since KO is a predominantly white institution (PWI), it is imperative that groups like the Girls Group of Color continue to include marginalized members of various cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Creating a safe and welcoming environment means holding value for all underrepresented students. “It’s just hard to be on a campus where there may not be many people that look similar to you,” Olivia said. “We believe it’s very important to provide a space where we can talk about our experiences to others who can understand and empathize because they’ve faced the same adversity.”
The importance of this group is not only felt by its leaders, but also by members like Naomi. “I think groups like the Girls Group of Color are very important parts of the KO community,” she said. “They provide a space for marginalized groups to have a voice and share experiences in a PWI.”
KO’s girls of color all hope to find safety and encouragement from one another, and the Girls Group of Color brunch laid the groundwork for this support system. “I really enjoyed this event because of the authenticity of the members, and I valued it because it provided a space of connection and compassion,” Naomi said.
Although the brunch is in the past, the Girls Group of Color’s growth and outreach is far from over. “Our goal for the year is to continue hosting events and meeting regularly,” Olivia said. “We simply want to foster a strong sense of comfort, unity, and support among women of color on campus.”