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Organization promotes comfortable, safe, supportive community for women at URI

By Audrey O'Neil
On February 25, 2013

An organization at the University of Rhode Island is focused on creating a safe, supportive environment for freshmen women through mentoring. 

The organization, We're Offering Women Wisdom (W.O.W.W) contributes to URI by providing a comfortable, safe and supportive community for freshmen women.  W.O.W.W was founded in September 2005 by Kristen Motel and Lisa Marie Carroll. Members of W.O.W.W reach out to students during events such as First Night, Open Houses and Welcome Days.

Senior and Gender and Women's Studies Major, Alyssa Mroz, is a peer advocate and mentor for W.O.W.W.  Mroz joined her freshman year after a fellow classmate introduced her to the group and she has been involved with W.O.W.W ever since.

"We are a group of young women at the University of Rhode Island who strive to establish not only a sense of [a community], but an actual community where upperclassmen peers will be a constant, non-judging community to incoming freshmen women in hopes to mentor them in a way which provides a cycle of organizational transition from mentee to mentor" Mroz said.

Mroz often works through the organization with vice president of the group and senior biotechnology major, Alyssee Quiterio.

"She is amazing, and we find ourselves working side by side with each other's input and support," Mroz said. "We also have a hardworking executive board who works hard to create social events, philanthropy events and make sure that all of the women who are mentees are happy and welcomed."

The group consists of upper-class mentors and freshmen mentees who are able to become future mentors. Although mentees are usually freshmen, any student interested is welcomed to join. When students enter W.O.W.W, each new member becomes a "little" and gets an upperclassman as a "big." Once the year is over, each "little" makes the transition to becoming a mentor for the upcoming fall semester. Each year, the organization has a ceremony to induct the newest members

"We are much more than a community, though," Mroz said. "We see ourselves as a family and a lot of the women who are in W.O.W.W say that what made them stay is that they feel so welcomed entering a room full of women who are friendly, non-judging and so eager to meet them."

Previously this year, W.O.W.W presented the annual date auction with the fraternity Sigma Chi, in honor of Aura Diaz, a high school friend of founder Lisa Marie Carroll and other victims of domestic violence. Other events of the organization include the date auction social and the event in which they cosponsored, 1 Billion Rising.

"As of right now we are preparing for Relay for Life and our second alumni event of the year. We love our alumni and are always excited for them to return to URI with their stories and experiences," Mroz said. "At the end of this year, we will host our event where all of the women in our group who are mentees become mentors, in preparation of mentoring the new group of incoming students in the fall."

For the future, W.O.W.W hopes to continue to be a place for freshmen women to come and also hope to maintain the community of women from all different walks of campus life.

"My personal goals are to continue to make W.O.W.W a community that women return to year after year and only grows in the future. I hope to always be in the position to help people in the future," Mroz said. "I think something that makes W.O.W.W so amazing is how unique our group of women is. We bring something different to the group, and that is what brings us together."

W.O.W.W meets every Thursday at 6 p.m., in the Women's Center library.

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