Campus Conversations with Sameenah Piel: What It's Like Running a New Club on Campus

When we all first start college, our primary definition of “succeeding” is to get good grades, make new friends, and establish a new independence. But, what happens when you’ve accomplished all those things, and you’re ready to take the next step into “succeeding,” such as becoming a leader in something you’re passionate about?

Meet Sameenah Piel, a longtime friend of mine who’s an example of a woman who knows what she’s passionate about, and wanted to take the next steps to share it with others on the path of her college journey. A current sophomore at the University of Washington, she’s recently taken the initiative to become a board member of UW’s newly-established WE CARE chapter, a registered student organization with the chief aim to promote global women’s rights and advocacy on the Seattle campus. As someone who’s a continuing inspiration to many, juggling college life as well as the responsibility promoting the club down the streets of 45th and the Ave, I wanted to ask her a few questions about her experience in WE CARE so far. 

1. What is your role in WE CARE at the moment?

“My role in WE CARE is co-head of marketing, which includes running our Instagram page@wecareuw, and also helping to lead our marketing committee, which is a group of incredibly talented WE CARE members who design posts for our social media. We also have separate advocacy and awareness and fundraising committees with different responsibilities to get involved in.”

2. Tell us a little bit about WE CARE’s cause, and what drew you to become involved in the club. 

“WE CARE is a club based around women’s empowerment through education. We fundraise for an organization called Veerni, which houses and educates child brides in Jodhpur, India, who wouldn’t have access to schooling otherwise. Around campus (which, for now, means online through social media and Zoom), we hope to bring light to women’s issues as well as network with local women to share their stories and create a more aware and empowered community. What drew me to become a part of WE CARE was our club’s mission; education is so valuable, and I, like many other college students, tend to take it for granted. I didn’t understand the freedom that being educated can bring to people, girls especially, who don’t have the same access as we do here.”

Photo of people at work putting their hands on top of each other Photo by fauxels from Pexels

3. What is WE CARE working on right now, and are you recruiting new members?

“Right now, we’re working on some smaller virtual fundraising and social media campaigns. We recently collaborated with a women-owned small business subscription box to do a raffle and give-away for their product— money from that will be going towards our Veerni fundraising. We are also creating a series of informational Instagram posts each month to bring awareness to different women’s issues. For December, our focus is on comprehensive sexual education and resources, so I’m putting those out on a weekly basis. We are not actively recruiting new members, at the moment, and we don’t plan to until the end of the school year, but if anyone is really interested and wants to join sooner, they can reach out through our social media and we will help them find a way to get involved!”

4. As a small club just starting on a big college campus, what have you learned in your time so far?

“Helping start this club has been a huge learning experience, for sure. I didn’t know how many people would actually want to be part of a club that is all virtual, for the time being. I was happy to find that our campus is full of passionate students who care about our cause and want to collaborate, regardless of the circumstances right now. I can’t wait to be able to hold meetings and events in person, someday, when things are safer! I also learned that people are looking for small communities on our big campus and that joining an RSO is such a great way to meet new friends, especially right now when we’re all isolated.”

If you’re interested in learning more about WE CARE's incredible cause, joining their team in the future, or if you’re simply looking for a platform to expand your knowledge of women’s rights within a genuine community, visit their website or give them a follow on Instagram. To find out more about Veerni's work in general, visit them online here.