Campus Celebrity: Renaiyah Cornelious

Name: Renaiyah Cornelious

Year: Sophomore

Major & Minor: Life Science with a minor in women studies

Hometown: Buffalo

 

What clubs/activities do you participate in to stay involved on campus?

I am involved in the biology club, Multicultural Student affairs, student government, serve as a Niagara University Opportunity Program student mentor, and I am also the founder of the Women Rock club here on campus.

What factors encouraged you to start “Women Rock” on campus?  What does your club aim to do?

When I first arrived at NU, I noticed there were a lot of women in our student body, and that in every class there was a vast majority of women in comparison to men. Thee women on our campus seemed to conform to societal norms and social standards and I did not like how those same standards work to separate and divide us. For some reason, women are always in competition with one another. We’d rather stick to the same people every day instead of meeting new people and be open to leaving our comfort zone. I noticed that we, women, blamed men for our oppression, when we oppress each other! How can we expect change to come when we feed into what we despise the most; sexism? I wanted to start a club so I could bring women together and teach us self-empowerment, so that we can then empower others. I have learned that empowerment has to start within ourselves.

What are your favorite experiences with the clubs you are involved in? 

My favorite experience would be our first women empowerment conference for Women Rock. It was small: four speakers, 22 girls. We inspired every woman in the room. There was no arguing, no stress, no insecurities. We became our true selves and enjoyed the feeling of sisterhood. Women Rock made this an amazing experience. It was only for a few hours that day, but we impacted every women there for their lifetime. We had workshops on self-beauty, health and body, relationships, and even featured poetry; it was simply amazing. 

Students would like to know how you are able to balance your heavy work load with running your own club, academics, and your social life. Any tips for students struggling to balance everything out?

The key is to utilize and trust my club sisters. I have a small group, but it is a mighty group filled with women who have phenomenal dedication. The load gets heavy. Running the club gets stressful, and often frustrating, but I have learned to appreciate every member. The mission is not for just me personally, but every girl.

What are your plans after graduation? 

After graduation, I plan to open all the doors God has set for me. Sometimes our plans are not His plans. I hope to attend medical school and one day become an ER physician and/or gynecologist. I want to continue helping young girls find their way, just as I did. I hope to inspire many lives throughout my journey: medically, mentally, and emotionally. 

What do you like best about Niagara University? 

I love the faculty and the fact that this is a student-run campus. It will be time consuming and rough, but if you want a change to occur, Niagara gives you the outlets to make that change happen. All you need is your voice. Niagara University gives me the power to not only acknowledge the wrongs, but to find ways to fix it. Niagara encourages student leadership and it is a perfect environment to grow and succeed. I also have to mention that the academic curriculum is awesome.

What is your advice for students who want to get more involved on campus and really make a difference? 

College is a place to expand and create ourselves. Why not get involved and do something purposeful? Nothing will change if you just sit on your butt. If you want something to be done, the change starts within you. Be bold. Be strong. Be courageous. Remain humble and always, always have faith and confidence. You can do anything that you want, if you are determined enough to do it. Lastly, whatever you do, be selfless. Always keep the well-being of others in mind. Instead of thinking about how you can help yourself, think about how you can change someone else’s life for the better. That is the Vincentian way, after all.