Smart Girls Group taking initiative

Irech Colon/ Staff Writer

At times when she feels uncomfortable with her own skin, Belle Canto, a sophomore interior architecture major, said Smart Girls Group gives her a sense of belonging.

SGG is a new organization on campus that aims to provide girls with empowerment and a sisterhood focusing on philanthropic involvement and self-growth.

‘Am I too smart? Or too pretty? Too tall? Too fat?’ Girls with these kinds of insecurities, Canto, treasurer of SGG, said they will fit right in.

“I’ve always wanted to find a space where I felt comfortable, and I’m definitely not alone in these feelings,” said Canto.

She said that even when others give words of encouragement, the lack of confidence is still there.

“It’s easy to accept a compliment, but it’s harder to actually believe it.”

Wanting to help her younger sister make it through high school, Emily Raleigh, founder of the international group, wrote a survival guide-like book with ways on how to succeed.

The book is now the foundation of SGG and, for the first time, FIU will be a part of it. It’s the first major chapter that has gotten off the ground within a university

“We are expecting to grow with our members, get some feedback, have them work alongside us on our projects, plan events and assume proactive roles,” said Canto.

Council for Student Organizations officially recognized Smart Girls Group this fall on Sept. 15. Anyone can join SGG through OrgSync, there are no GPA requirements, no payment and no specifications for any major. They want to stand out from other organizations by making members an extension of the E-board.

With one chapter in Fordham, N.Y., and another in the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, SGG@FIU are really trying to build up America. The organization as a whole has 4,000 girls in 50 different countries.

Nationally, they are focusing on Relay For Life. Internationally, are collaborating with an organization called She’s the First, which provides educational material for young girls in developing countries.

They will be pairing directly with a school in Kathmandu, Nepal. This will be giving other young girls the same opportunity in education that women of the University have.

Their local mission: to get involved with Sweetwater Elementary students.

Montana MacRae, a sophomore political science major and president of the chapter, said it is important to start shaping bright, confident minds at an early age.

This can be done by mentoring them on how to deal with bullying, self-image, and future empowerment, said MacRae.

The group has established an outline of days and times where they hope to visit and teach the students early on.

Canto said she believes in MacRae’s spirit of bravery to her devotion to SGG, along with six other girls that form part of the executive board.

MacRae has been connected to SGG’s national headquarters just over two years and decided it was time to start small at FIU.

So far, there have been over 130 official signups but more than 80 other girls who have shown interest in joining.

She has created a very realistic accomplishment for the organization, said Canto.

Secretary of SGG, Cecilia Pablos-Aguirre, a sophomore history major, supports the idea that all women can be simultaneously pretty and smart.

“We advocate you can be both, said Pablos-Aguirre. “You can be whatever you want to be— the best version of yourself.”

“It’s nice to have a base group of people you can rely on and be yourself around, being better together.”

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