On an average day you might catch Courtney Hicks showcasing the College campus to a group of young prospective students. Some days she may be scurrying past you on her way to a Black Student Union meeting. Or perhaps she was your summer orientation intern. With a helpful hand already involved in a multitude of organizations, this sophomore is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Her latest venture seeks to bring something completely new to the College. This school year Hicks introduced Collegiate Curls, an organization created to embody and celebrate diversity.
To some, bringing a multiracial organization that highlights diversity to a predominantly White institute may seem out of place and rather counterproductive. After all, on a campus where minorities nearly reach 12 percent, is there truly a reason to celebrate something that is scarcely represented on campus? According to Hicks, this is the very reason why the College was in need of Collegiate Curls.
“The mission of Collegiate Curls is to help multicultural students be able to embrace their natural beauty – being able to embrace their skin color, their beautiful hair God gave them.”
Some organizations on campus gather to enjoy cheese, while others express their love for tabletop games. Collegiate Curls has found a distinct voice by uniquely focusing on something that just about all ethnic and multiracial individuals can come together, confer and agree upon – hair. Kinky, colored, long, damaged, straight, permed – hair comes in many forms and Collegiate Curls recognizes that. No matter your hair journey, Hicks’ organization welcomes everyone with open arms.
“It’s just for students to be able to feel comfortable in their own skin. When you’re not feeling comfortable about who you are on the inside, it really does show and it has a direct impact on how you do perform in the classroom. So it is empowering and letting students know that they do have an environment where people do love and care about them.”
A dream long in the making, Hicks carefully planned how to present the idea of Collegiate Curls. When the moment was right, a detailed proposal was submitted to the Student Government Association during an approval meeting – along with 17 supporting students ready to join the organization.
“The student reaction has been really crazy! I’ve had so many students come up to [me] that are interested in it. Even males have been really excited. I’ve had lots of people from Latino descent, and a few caucasian people.”
While this multicultural organization is centered on uplifting minorities, Collegiate Curls is not simply a skin-deep organization – it transcends and goes far beyond race.
“Anyone can want a better feeling about themselves. Anyone can want to walk into a classroom and feel better about who they are as a person and be more confident in themselves. So [Collegiate Curls is] nondiscriminatory.”
With a shining executive board and events that burst at the seam with eager, curious students, Collegiate Curls has proven to be a fresh success, making an indelible mark on the campus within a few short months.
When asked what the future of Collegiate Curls looks like, Hicks envisions her organization branching out to campuses across the nation.
“I’ve talked to a lot of students that go to different [predominately White institutions] and a lot of them have that same issue of feeling as though they don’t belong.”
With a mission dedicated to celebrate, uplift and empower, Hicks has managed to give students a sense of meaning and identity at an institution where difference may go unnoticed. Subsequently, Collegiate Curls manifests a unifying power that can be felt throughout the campus.
“No matter who the person is, they have hair somewhere on their body. This organization can unify students all over the spectrum.”
For more information about Collegiate Curls, follow this new organization on social media and be on the lookout for upcoming events.