Girl Gains: New organization for women weightlifters

Oakland University prides itself on being a school with a vast majority of clubs for its diverse group of students to participate in.

Girl Gains, a new organization started by Samantha Hadyniak, is a weightlifting club open to any women at Oakland that would like to get involved with lifting weights.

Talks of starting the organization started in January of 2022, but the club didn’t officially launch until the 2022 fall semester.

Ironically, the club started more than 2,000 miles away, in California, according to Hadyniak.

“This club was actually started as SDSU in California,” Hadyniak said. “So it’s a national organization and we are just a chapter of it at Oakland.”

Hadyniak went on to share an interesting story about how she first had the idea of bringing Girl Gains to Oakland.

“I actually found a Tik Tok,” Hadyniak said. “The girl, her name is Elisabeth Bradley, she’s the one who started it as SDSU, and I was just scrolling on my page and it popped up and it was like, ‘do you want to start a women’s weightlifting club?’ and at the time I was really getting into fitness and getting in the weight room and stuff like that, and I just kind of took a leap and went to the link that was in her bio and filled out the application to start my own chapter, and we have spiraled since then.”

She went on to explain that, although the club is only turning one year old this month, they have quite a large number of girls interested in what is being started.

“We had 112 girls in our GroupMe chat, and then there were like 55 members registered on Grizzorgs… we were just right at about 300 followers on Instagram.”

Hadyniak is a senior and will graduate in just a few months, so this will be her last semester as president of the club, but she seems to have already picked out her eventual successor — Jenny Ognjanovski. 

Ognjanovski is a sophomore, and she is ready to take over the organization once Hadyniak departs.

“[Hadyniak] originally asked me to fulfill a position of vice president, and I actually had been wanting to start getting into working out. I did it with my friends, but I never really knew exactly how to properly work out.”

As for Ognjanovski’s plans for the organization after Hadyniak graduates, she says she wants to hit on two major areas: fundraising and getting more girls involved.

“Fundraising would be awesome, and also just getting more of the girls involved,” Ognjanovski said. “I feel like a lot of people don’t really know about the club, and it’s just an awesome club to get involved with.”

“A lot of girls have a hard time starting with working out and knowing where to begin, so honestly, I think it’s just spreading the word more… That’ll be my biggest goal.”

As for the present, Hadyniak wants to make sure that in her last few months as president, all women feel welcomed and included.

“We’re really focused on being inclusive to everyone,” Hadyniak said. “So, we don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t join, even if they’re a beginner in fitness or even a powerlifter. We want everyone to be able to come and join the community, at any fitness level.”