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Student Life

It Takes a Village: Women of Welch

The Women of Welch Living and Learning Village is a safe space for women committed to social justice, activism and dismantling systems of oppression.

A group of five students from the Women of Welch Village wearing sashes that say "votes for women."

By Naz Santiago, DASA Marketing Intern

Women of Welch (WOW) is a Living and Learning Village established as a safe space for 1women committed to social justice, activism and dismantling systems of oppression. WOW is partnered with the Women’s Center at NC State, and its mission is to create a tight-knit and welcoming community of women through support, empowerment and inclusivity. The village is meant to promote intersectional awareness of self and challenge systemic norms that marginalize others.

“A lot of people come to Welch because they can feel that safeness…a lot of our residents come for that safety factor,” said Samantha knapp (biomedical engineering ’22), a member of WOW and resident advisor for Welch Hall.

The WOW Factor

“What makes WOW so special are the people who work hard to make it happen as well as the village members who make it all worth it.” said Mikhaila Estwick (zoology ‘23). “I’ve never met another group of such dedicated people willing to learn, challenge their own perspectives and advocate for what they believe in.”

WOW aims to develop strong, confident leaders who speak up about important issues and facilitate conversations. Students are dedicated to serving their community and are passionate about making societal change. The village fosters sisterhood and gives students the opportunity to surround themselves with like-minded individuals who are engaged.

A group of WOW students at a protest
A group of WOW students at a protest

“One of the things that I love about each village member is their ability to be engaged in their classroom, in issues, in conversations centered around social justice, equity and inclusion,” said Bri Elum, assistant director for the NC State’s Women’s Center and former community director for Welch Hall.

WOW members regularly volunteer at Women’s Center events and participate in activities that promote social and leadership development as well as those that empower women. Some of these events and activities include movie nights, women’s conferences, women and leadership workshops and much more. 

Off campus, WOW members have attended Alternative Service Break experiences in Washington D.C. or New York. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, WOW Village residents went on a service trip to Washington, D.C., where they could meet up, explore and engage with other NC State villages like the Black Male Initiative. Residents also can attend retreats where they can bond and connect with fellow WOW members.

There is also plenty of bonding that takes place at Welch Hall itself.

“It is really helpful to have the kind of community that we have…where if we are having a bad day…we can just vent about everything that is going wrong,” said Chloe Allen (communications ‘23). “Anything that we are dealing with we can just vent.”

“If you post on the group chat and say that you’ve had a rough day, you can be guaranteed that you’re gonna get multiple responses and people showing up and supporting you,” Elum added. “That’s what’s important: celebration and support and solidarity is ongoing from the moment they step in that village.”

WOW members have a meal together in Welch Hall

How to Join

To join Women Of Welch, students simply choose the WOW Village in the housing application and answer the questions assessing their interest in the village. The questions are intended to learn why a student wants to join the village and how they plan to contribute to the community and how they might benefit from being a part of Women Of Welch.

Learn more about Women of Welch on their website: