Club Spotlight: Diversity & Inclusion Award Winner ATHENA

Margaret Ekblom, Senior Writer

After celebrating its first year as a recognized organization on campus, the University’s ATHENA chapter, an international women’s organization dedicated to empowering women and fostering leadership, won the Diversity & Inclusion award in the category of student organization on April 4.

The award recognizes clubs who have made significant contributions to the University’s efforts to build and support an inclusive community. The women received a letter from University President John Bravman that described how the selection committee recognized their work in both “empower[ing] women students to take on leadership roles” and “provid[ing] professional development opportunities.”

President and founder of ATHENA’s chapter at the University Caitlin Maloney ’16 and Vice President Helen Weston ’16 both believe that women on campus should be able to voice their opinions and talk openly about prevalent, contentious issues. ATHENA aspires to achieve goals in networking and leadership, outreach and philanthropy, and campus education and empowerment.

ATHENA holds biweekly meetings, in which members discuss current events both on and off campus, the organization’s initiatives, and upcoming events.

“I enjoy being a member of ATHENA because the organization provides a safe space for women to voice their opinions and achieve their goals. Plus doing good for other women, such as providing clothes, is something worthwhile and [enhances] our community culture,” Taylor Sheldon ’17 said.

ATHENA recently held a women’s empowerment dinner and panel that featured female alumni from different backgrounds and careers who spoke about their paths to success. The women at the dinner included a judge, a lieutenant, the head of a nonprofit organization, a manager at a national foundation specializing in environmental education, and a director in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The event was a success, with over 60 female students and faculty in attendance.

Meghan Byrd ’16 is a member of ATHENA and said that she is proud of how ATHENA connects with powerful women on campusimpacts the local community, and represents a place where women can get involved and feel empowered. She also praised Maloney for her efforts as the group’s leader.

“I give Caitlin so much credit for being a dedicated leader and [for] providing such an important club on campus,” Byrd said.

Maloney said that she is very proud of ATHENA and highly appreciative of the immense support it has received from the administration, faculty, and students. She added that the organization has taught her the importance of female mentorship and leadership.

“I think that one of the best things for me has been learning that there are limits and certain adversity that women face currently at Bucknell and will face professionally, but there are also several ways to overcome those difficulties. One of those ways is putting time and energy into empowering fellow women and ourselves, something that ATHENA really focuses on,” Maloney said.

Maloney said that she hopes to continue her involvement as an alumna “through being an advocate of the organization and its mission,” and through continuing to develop her “capacities as a female leader and staying involved in mentorship with the organization.”

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