The Circle of Brotherhood and Circle of Sisterhood are two groups on campus offering a welcoming atmosphere for students. These groups provide students the opportunity to build relationships with fellow classmates, have support systems, achieve personal growth and acquire resources to lead to a successful life.
These are safe, informational, and confidential environments for students — where various perspectives and stories are available for students to learn from and listen to. The Circle of Brotherhood meets biweekly on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., while the Circle of Sisterhood meets biweekly on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.. Both circles primarily meet in Oakland Center rooms 129-130.
Vester Waters, retention coordinator of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, said the Circle of Brotherhood explores the roles of being a male. This group also motivates one another to achieve their dreams and goals.
“We go into a variation of topics,” Waters said. “Exploring the different roles of a male. When you think of a male, you could be a son, a brother, an uncle, then you go into being a father, then a provider or protector. Just understanding those different roles of a male and seeing how we fit into society. Seeing how we can give back to our upcoming generation and motivate each other to accomplish our dreams, desires and goals.”
Nicole Lucio, assistant director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, states the Circle of Sisterhood is a place where women can talk and connect with one another. It is also a place to build relationships, empower and uplift each other.
“It was originally created as a space for women to come together,” Lucio said. “Just to have a space where they can openly talk about things, connect and build relationships with other women, and empower and uplift each other.
Waters emphasizes the importance of having a group of men in one’s life, including his own. In addition, he highlights the importance of mentors and having a space for men and women.
“It’s important to have other male mentors and just to have that space,” Waters said. “It’s the same for Circle of Sisterhood — it’s really important to have that group of women who could just pour into each other and nurture each other.”
The women who attend Circle of Sisterhood often find friendships and connections, as they are there for positivity and camaraderie.
“It naturally draws in folks like that, so a lot of times when people are seeking friends, they do find someone in the group that they connect with, ” Lucio said. “Most of the women there are there for positivity and friendship. Just watching those relationships develop is really nice. Helping to create them and encourage them is great for us.”
Student engagement is important as students stay at institutions they are engaged in, explained Waters. Getting engaged and making friends is all a part of the college experience.
“From a retention standpoint, students stay at institutions they are engaged in,” Waters said.” So if you just go to a college, go to class, and go home, you don’t really have any attachments. So getting engaged, making some friends, and doing some new things is really important to an undergraduate experience.”
When asked about building relationships with fellow classmates, Waters emphasizes its importance. Waters also calls attention to individuals’ development that leads to networking opportunities. The students that you meet now can help in the future.
“I’d say it’s extremely important,” Waters said. “It’s like right now, these are just people you’re in a class with. These are just your friends, but later down the road, these people are going to progress professionally. These people are going to be supervisors, managers and entrepreneurs. These are people that could potentially help you in your career trajectory. So, I think it’s really important to develop that network, especially here at the same institution.”
Lucio states the Circle of Sisterhood helps people experiencing struggle and helps them feel validation. Even if the struggle is not big, having a group of support helps.
“Oftentimes walking away, especially if you are struggling with something or going through something, even if it’s not something big, but can feel big feeling some validation that there are other people also experiencing that struggle or have experienced that struggle,” Lucio said. Really being able to empathize with them. It’s almost like a counseling group, but it’s not a counseling group.”
Dependent upon what is on students’ minds, that is what will navigate discussion in the Circle of Sisterhood. In addition, professionals may be brought in regards to structured topics.
Topics from the Circle of Brotherhood range around a variety of aspects. Waters offers some examples of some of the discussion points offered at Circle of Brotherhood in the past.
“We have different topics,” Waters said. “Some of our previous topics, for example, last semester we did the nature of negativity versus positivity, we talked about imposter syndrome, we talked about professional paranoia, and we also talked about being careful of sharing some of your dreams with other people who are not of a similar mindset as you. Sometimes we do explore current events like trending topics, things that might be happening in the news, we discuss that.”
Both groups offer opportunities for students to speak on what is on their minds. Aside from the more set-in-stone topics, there’s always time to discuss what students may be going through. The floor is open to speaking in both of these sessions.
“Other times, we will do a less structured random pick a topic,” Lucio said. “Where folks can write down a topic, they want the group to discuss, and it’s anonymous. They can disclose if it’s their topic if they want to, but if not, they’re just looking for a general discussion on something because they’re kind of mulling over something or they’re trying to make a decision.”
“We also open up the floor,” Waters said. “‘Hey, we’re just opening up the floor does anybody have something they want to discuss?’ Anything that has been on your mind. Even if they wanted to hang back after the rest of the group had gone and wanted to talk on a more personal note, that’s totally fine as well. There’s always an opportunity to express different topics and things that have been on their mind.”
Both the Circle of Brotherhood and the Circle of Sisterhood welcome all students. For more information on these groups, visit GrizzOrgs.