Campus Curlz has impacted more than just the lives of its general members, it has influenced the executive board as well. Sophomore Ariana Gonzalez, a UConn cheerleader, is the fundraising chair of the organization. While it may appear to be an overwhelming task to balance academics, cheerleading and Campus Curlz, she makes it work every day.
Campus Curlz meets in the African American Cultural Center’s community room. Gonzalez describes it as a “community based organization whose goals are to empower people with natural hair and making people feel comfortable about their natural hair.”
Gonzalez’s involvement stemmed from a friend, who founded the organization. From that point on, she decided to go through the interview process of joining the executive board, which provided her with not only a way to build her resumé, but also with skills that she deems will benefit her in her future endeavors, whether it be in the career that she pursues or cheerleading.
With practice twice a week, alongside games and other appearances that the cheerleading team is responsible for making, balancing academics and organizations is a difficult task. Gonzalez is so passionate about what she does at the AACC and in cheerleading that she’s willing to go above and beyond to maintain her involvement.
“I do try my best to balance working on Campus Curlz whenever I have free time; if that’s helping the president with any of the events that we have coming up, or with creating my own fundraisers as well because that is my position,” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes it does overlap with cheerleading, so I have to pick one or the other and figure out what I have to do first to help both.” Oftentimes, she explained that on days when she has practice and Campus Curlz, she’d attend Campus Curlz meetings until she was due to be at practice, sometimes leaving meetings early.
Gonzalez’s love for what she does translates across Campus Curlz, athletics, and academics. While she believes that sometimes it’s hard balancing everything, she expressed how one must love everything that they do.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, Gonzalez was a freshman that came in as a part of UConn’s prestigious nursing program. Her involvement in the program was short-lived because she quickly came to the realization that nursing wasn’t her niche and it was a drag attending the lectures that came along with it.
Gonzalez says that academics are her top priority, so she took her dislike for the classes as a wake-up call that she needed to switch, resulting in her current major: in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. It was sociology which first introduced her to the social sciences, and she now loves her classes and professors in WGSS.
“Once you find something that you really love, then you’re always going to want to go to class, you’re always gonna want to do those assignments not just on time, but earlier so then you can have more time to work on them,” Gonzalez said.
Whether it’s being passionate about her major, cheerleading or her organization, she loves everything that she is doing, despite the large load of responsibilities that it places on her.
While this is the first time that Gonzalez has been involved in an organization like Campus Curlz, which empowers people of color, she has gained a vast amount of leadership skills, which is a skill that she values.
She realizes that, “not everyone has the same type of hair, which a lot of people on this campus don’t understand, so we give that opportunity to teach people about their hair and about their different textures, about their own hair porosities and things like that, so they would feel comfortable in their own hair.” Educating people on their hair serves for both Gonzalez and the organization.
Gonzalez refuses to stay stagnant; she aims to further her involvement in the organization by moving into a different position at some point, which would expose her to a different set of responsibilities. She intends to use the leadership skills that she has gained to assist those on the cheerleading team when she attains the status of an upperclassmen by joining the leadership team as a first year mentor.
Hanaisha Lewis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org