Appalachian Women's Fund starts Student Chapter

Article Published: Nov. 24, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Appalachian Women's Fund starts Student Chapter

The Appalachian Women's Fund is about to get some backup.

Meet Hannah Copeland.

After attending a luncheon with her Appalachian Women's Fund (AWF) member mom, the Appalachian State University student wanted in on the action. She, with the full backing of AWF, started an AWF ASU chapter, and, after only one meeting, the ASU chapter is taking off. It already has an idea for its first project.

"We want to start talking with the Western Youth Network in getting a program set up for at-risk girls in the Mabel and Bethel areas of the county," Copeland said.

To Copeland, a High Country native, the "women helping women" mantra of AWF is particularly inviting, especially where her former high school classmates are concerned.

"Look at the number of girls who got pregnant in high school," she said. "I just feel sorry for them and their children because they don't have the opportunities that I have, and I feel like I should help them."

With the help of friends like sorority activist and student Lucy Binning, help is on the way.

"There's definitely girls on campus who need our support," Binning said. "I'm trying to get the Greek community involved."

And it's working. Nearly 20 girls showed up to the initial meeting, several from Greek Life, all enthusiastic.

"I just think it's very rewarding to be able to make a difference in at least one person's life," student Morgan Oliver said. "I think that makes us all happy."

And the feeling of sisterhood shared among AWF's new members just intensified the experience.

"I like to consider myself independent, and boys get on my nerves, too, so, I don't know; it's just empowering to have a group like this," Brooke Swanger laughed.

AWF's full-fledged adult members would agree. On hand to see off the new chapter, members like sociology teacher Janice Rienerth were impressed with the new group's goal "to promote social change and provide necessary funds to women and children, so that they may reach their full potential in the community."
It's exciting and relevant to see a new generation take up the mantra.

"Only 25 percent of the students in this country go to college," she said to the girls. "You have been in a ... certain sub-selected group of people who are planning to go to college, who figured out how to go to college, who are still in college. That's only 25 percent of the population, and if you graduate college, you're in an even smaller percentage ... think of all the women who are in that other 75 percent."

It's those women the students hope to help.

For more details on the chapter or on AWF activities, check out the group's new Facebook page.

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