GABRIELA SELVA '24
Club Spotlight: Hands Across Campus
Here at SUA, the words “community” and “family” are highly valued as something we strive for all students to get a sense of when they walk through our doors for the first time. One way Saint Ursula has achieved this is through the widely popular club, Hands Across Campus, which allows for students and faculty to feel more connected together as the one sisterhood we represent, while also encouraging the diversity and uniqueness of each individual member. I asked some questions to the two co-presidents of the club, Aissa Bah ‘23 and Gabby Baptist ‘23, so people can get a sense of what HAC represents.
How long have you been a member of HAC and why did you first join?
Aissa joined HAC her freshman year, and she became a leader by her sophomore year. “I joined because I was the only student at my school to come to SUA, and many upperclassmen encouraged me to join. I stayed constant and committed with the organization because of the idea of making SUA a better, more welcoming place for minority students. It was my safe space, my comfort zone in the academy, and it still is.” Gabby also joined her freshman year, and her goal was to “contribute to a more inclusive and culturally aware community at SUA.”
What is HAC? What is the meaning behind its name?
The intended meaning for “Hands Across Campus” is for everyone on the grounds of Saint Ursula Academy to be in unity, and it’s a way of connecting the students of SUA and other Cincinnati schools, such as St. X and Ursuline. It’s important for people to know that Hands Across Campus is not only for minorities, but for allies who are willing to be courageous for others. HAC is an organization that brings communities together to share new perspectives and also learn about others.
Who is the moderator of HAC and what do they do?
The two adult moderators of Hands Across Campus are Ms. Tidwell and Mrs. Williams. Their job is to oversee the club and work with the leaders to plan agendas and larger projects/events.
What is the main focus/goal of HAC?
Aissa confirms that “the main goal of HAC is to ensure that everyone, including minorities, is comfortable, knows that they are valued, and to celebrate and embrace the differences and uniqueness of everyone.” Gabby views the club as “striving for inclusivity of all races, sexualities, ethnicities, and identities.” The goal of HAC is “to promote diversity and inclusion through different fun, yet educational, events, gatherings, seminars, and more!”
What are some of the events that HAC has done, and what were their impacts on the community?
Aissa explains, “We partnered with Social Justice Club last year to celebrate the foods and clothing of some of our ethnic groups for students and parents of SUA. We also hosted a car wash earlier this year with all of the funds going towards a new scholarship that will be given towards incoming minority students.”
Gabby adds, “This year, HAC is creating a Hands Across Campus $1,000 scholarship to help support the cost of attendance at SUA for minority students. We held a car wash led by HAC members and we raised about $750 on our first go-around. Additionally, HAC members come up with content and presentations for advisories regarding heritage months, social justice, advocacy, and cultural awareness. There is a great emphasis on student leadership as HAC members attend different advisories and teach these important lessons. Along with advisories, we also utilize gold bells to share more information about important topics we want SUA to be more informed on. We have also had guest speakers come and speak on important issues during lunch and learns hosted here at SUA.”
What impact has being a part of HAC had on your life?
Gabby emphasizes how Hands Across Campus helped her in developing her leadership skills and “to stand up to advocate for others.” The club has allowed her “to find my confidence and know that I can make a change in a larger community.” Aissa highlights all she has learned in being both a member and co-president of HAC throughout her four years. This includes learning to “be more diverse with my thoughts and opinions, to be more thoughtful of others’ uniqueness, and that being different from others is a good thing because it allows you to learn from other people’s perspectives but also to teach others.”
If you had to say one thing about HAC, what would you say?
Aissa wants to express the “open-mindful, fun, celebration and education” that comes from diversity and uniqueness, “rather than holding onto the negative societal connotations” people may have. Gabby accentuates the “student initiative and integrity” that HAC allows students to witness, but also execute themselves.
If you have any questions regarding Hands Across Campus or how to join, don’t hesitate to contact one of the student co-presidents, Ms. Tidwell, or Mrs. Williams! Feel free to stop by one of the meetings for HAC during the Club 5 Meeting Schedule if you want to get a sense of what being a part of this amazing organization is like- HAC is always open to new members!