Featured club: You Beautiful Black Woman

Audra Gamble

With more than 300 registered student organizations at Grand Valley State University, it can be difficult to decide what type of clubs to join — let alone know what kinds are offered. One club that some are unaware of is You Beautiful Black Woman, also known as YBBW.

The GVSU chapter of YBBW has been on campus for 20 years, and its goal is to promote equality among all minorities. According to the GVSU Office of Institutional Analysis, about 15 percent of the student population is of minority background, and of that 15 percent, about seven percent is African-American.

“It’s not just black people,” club liaison Christian Knighten said. “It unites any female on campus, any color. I feel like sometimes the name might scare people away, but we’re really friendly. You don’t necessarily have to be a minority to be in the club.”

According to the organization’s OrgSync profile, “You Beautiful Black Woman is a tight-knit group of strong and confident women.” Its mission is to “culturally enhance Grand Valley’s campus and increase society’s awareness of today’s African-American woman,” but as Knighten said, it is not exclusive.

YBBW aims to unite GVSU’s women regardless of race, color or gender.

“It’s designed to be a friendship and a sisterhood for all women,” Vice President Alesia Alexander said, adding that there have been men in the club in the past. “We’re a really close knit group of women. We like to support all the people involved.”

And in turn, the club has received much support on campus. Though the minority population at GVSU is slim, Alexander has found the university to be very accepting and willing to assist YBBW when necessary.

“Even though Grand Valley doesn’t have many minorities, they’re very open and supportive to minorities,” she said.

The YBBW club holds multiple events throughout the year and also does community service. In November, the club held a hair show and a talk about minority hair styles.

In the winter semester, the club will be host a few major events, including a Martin Luther King, Jr. dinner in mid-January. The club will also host a women’s conference in March.

“Our biggest thing is going to be our women’s conference,” Alexander said. “It’s typically in March around the second or third week. Every winter semester, we offer the YBBW women’s conference, working on health, spirituality and the workplace. We’re a resource for girls to work on themselves.”

YBBW also participates in multiple kinds of community service, including volunteering to work at GVSU’s family weekend and filling baskets of school supplies for kids in need. Furthermore, the club holds monthly events that include fireside chats, quarter bakes, dating shows and outings.

For those interested in joining You Beautiful Black Woman, the club meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center. The room is subject to change, so for the most updated information, visit www.ybbwbeta.wix.com/ybbw or follow the YBBW twitter account @YBBWBetaChapter.