UN Foundation’s “Girl Up” Club Takes Off at EHS
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Over the past couple of months, a new activist club has blossomed at Edina High School. Girl Up Edina, a club formed and operated by students, has given a platform to 150 students who wish to promote equal opportunities for women worldwide.
Girl Up is an international campaign run by the United Nations Foundation which consists of over 1,000 clubs in over 50 countries. As stated on the UN Foundation’s Girl Up website, “Girl Up engages girls to take action. Led by a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates raising awareness and funds, our efforts help the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.” The idea to bring Girl Up to EHS came about after Saumya Mangalick, the current president of Girl Up, returned from a service trip in India. “I was just so inspired from my experiences and from seeing how education was really changing the lives of so many girls who came from absolutely unimaginable [situations],” said Mangalick. “I was researching how I could actually find a way to make a difference…I read about Girl Up and it just seemed like the perfect way to get a high school community involved with the rest of our community and the world at large.”
Girl Up Edina is led by a leadership board of five EHS students: Mangalick (President), Sara Park (Vice President), Medha Kaul (Secretary), Celeste Haberman (Public Relations Head), and Mackenzie Croxdale (Treasurer). As the executives of the club, their main responsibilities include communicating with the EHS administration and organizing events. Soon, the board will be extending more leadership opportunities to the members of Girl Up Edina by appointing people, based on an application, as chairs of the club’s several different committees. “[The board] does have a very important role, but we don’t want it to be just us doing all the work,” said Kaul. “I know that there are so many girls in this school who care about these issues and want to take action…I think Girl Up provides the organization and the structure that we need to take action and make an actual difference for the lives of these girls in underdeveloped countries.” Girl Up Edina’s different committees include Fundraising and Finances, Advocacy and Impact, Education and Outreach, Service and Volunteering, LGBTQ+ and Representation, Design, and Product Management.
The Girl Up Campaign promotes several different means of advancing gender equality. These means include education, advocacy, service, and fundraising. So far, Girl Up Edina has placed an emphasis on the “education” aspect. The club will be holding several educational events, including different forums and seminars. On March 2, Girl Up held their first educational event on women’s sexual health, led by sophomores Elsa Hetlevedt and Kate Keller.
Girl Up Edina also has several events coming up which relate to advocacy and fundraising. On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, Girl Up Edina and women around the world are calling for a “red-out,” where people wear all red clothing in support of gender equality. After International Women’s Day, Girl Up Edina will be hosting an ice cream social with a student DJ to raise money for the Girl Up Campaign. This event will be held at EHS on March 17 from 6-9 pm. Tickets are $10 ahead of time, or $13 at the door. After the social, Girl Up Edina looks forward to holding more events, including possible screenings of the movies Hidden Figures and Miss Representation.
Girl Up Edina looks forward to seeing the differences they are able to make, and seeing how the club will continue to be successful once the current club members eventually leave EHS. “I hope Girl Up will be passed down to responsible leaders [and] expand to a bigger crowd of students in Edina High School [in the future],” said Croxdale. In addition to impacting their own community, Girl Up Edina hopes that its efforts will make students more aware of how they can use the advantages they have been given growing up in Edina to help women around the world. “Our main focus is opening [students’] eyes because we do live in this bubble where we are very privileged,” said Park.
To learn more about Girl Up Edina, follow their Instagram and Twitter accounts (@girlupedina) or email them at [email protected]