To start, what is your name and position with the Girl Up MacEwan student group?
My name is Mackenzie Thomas and I am the president of the Girl Up MacEwan club.
Girl Up MacEwan is a branch of the United Nations’ Girl Up organization, correct? Did you start the MacEwan University branch?
That is correct. Girl Up is a global movement founded by the United Nations that has over 4,000 clubs in nearly 125 countries. I am one of five founders of the MacEwan branch.
What inspired you to start the MacEwan branch?
The inspiration to start the club came from the desire to expand the Girl Up movement. There is power in numbers; as such, the more people who are committed to activism, advocacy, and education the greater the chance that our voice will be heard. With the Girl Up movement being founded in 2010, a MacEwan branch was well overdue.
Does the group have any specific goals it’s working towards this school year or things that it aims to accomplish overall?
Overall, our club is focused on empowering womxn to promote gender equality and take a stance on other social and political issues that are impacting their communities. We further wanted to provide a safe space for womxn and provide them with opportunities to educate and advocate for change.
What kind of events does the group hold for its members?
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic everything must be virtual this year, but we still have plenty of fun events planned! This includes virtual events such as club meetings, Netflix parties, informational speakers, and a book club.
What are the benefits of joining the group?
The main benefits of joining the group lie in the opportunities it provides. Not only is it a great way to connect with others, but it also gives womxn a platform and opportunity to impose meaningful changes not just in their community, but on a global level.
What is your favourite thing about being involved in the group?
My favourite thing about being involved in the group is the ability to meet like-minded individuals and to become more aware of the issues. The Girl Up MacEwan club allows womxn to network, which is especially important in the current pandemic where it can be incredibly difficult to connect with people. The club also actively supports education and awareness. Since being involved in the group, I have become enlightened about important topics in a way that allows me to be a better advocate.
Is the group open to all MacEwan students?
Absolutely! The club is open to anyone and everyone interested in becoming more politically active, advocating for gender equality, and creating a safe space on campus for womxn.
How can students get involved?
To get involved you can send us an email at macewangirlup@ gmail.com or direct message us on Instagram (@girlupmacewan).
Is there anything else you’d like potential members to know about the group?
You can still join! We are always happy to welcome new members to the club. It is a great opportunity to connect with people and have some fun in a safe, inclusive environment. There also is not a large time commitment which is great for busy student lives! Finally, I think it’s important to mention that since we are such a new club we are really malleable to suggestions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any feedback you might have on ways we may better serve MacEwan and the greater community.
Edited for length and clarity. Photograph by Dorian Reeves.