Sara Azmi, founder of Mason’s Girl Up GMU, reflects on the club’s efforts and successes.
BY TANYA MALIK, STAFF WRITER
Girl Up, founded by the United Nations, envisions a more equitable and just world for girls and women. Mason’s chapter, known as Girl Up at George Mason University, was founded by Alumni Sara Azmi and her sister, Alumni Sophia Azmi, in fall 2020. Azmi was the Vice President from 2020-2022 and has been the President since 2022.
Just like Girl Up itself, the GMU chapter focuses on raising awareness about women’s health, rights and education in the local Fairfax community.
As of February 2024, in an era of virtual platforms the community has grown massively. From hosting Zoom meetings with 30 members, the club now has over 450 members along with an Instagram following of over 950 followers.
This has allowed the club to make a significant impact through creating programs, fundraisers and opportunities to ensure that all girls have the opportunity to thrive and empower each other across GMU campuses in order to advance and exercise girls’ rights, skills and education.
Every semester, Girl Up GMU provides donations to local family shelters, such as the Patrick Henry Family Shelter and the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Girl Up also volunteers at Girls on the Run and does donation drives around campus, as well as creating initiatives such as the Flo Program, the Mentorship Program and the Ambassador Program.
Girl Up GMU also created an initiative on eating disorders in order to educate Mason students on the issue and ways they could help a friend in need. These programs have allowed the organization to gain recognition from faculty at Mason, current members, and Mason students.
The club has received multiple Mason organization awards. Those awards have included The Distinguished Quill Award for Student Organization of the Year two years in a row (2021-2022 and recently, 2022-2023), The Distinguished Quill Award for New Student Organization of the Year (2020-2021), and The Distinguished Quill Award: Collaborative Spirit Award (2020-2021). In addition, Girl Up GMU was invited to the White House for Women’s History Month based on their community efforts in March 2023.
“This was an amazing experience where we could represent Girl Up GMU by collaborating with other like-minded female organizations with the same mission as us at the White House,” Azmi said.
Azmi recently graduated in December 2023, and she envisions the club to continue expanding its outreach and leading its current programs, gaining more members, and receiving constructive feedback from the community.
“My favorite aspect about this organization is seeing our hard work be noticed by the faculty, staff, community, members and students. I will sadly say goodbye to Girl Up, but luckily I have an amazing executive board that will take care of Girl Up. I hope the legacy of Girl Up lives forever,” Azmi said.
Students can learn about Girl Up GMU through their Instagram, where they can also view content on topics such as Women’s History Month, mental health checks and more. Students can also become new members of the club through this Google Form.