Riley Burnette, Alex Radzville and Emily Wolford – all members of the Briton women's soccer team – were among the group of 15 from Albion College who traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.
"It was a powerful week, full of women's empowerment and equality issues, so you can bet that this is where my current vision is set," Radzville, a rising senior from Howell, Mich., and a forward for the Britons, said in her reflection. "I want to empower other women and help them follow their dreams on campus, and after college, 'to live a full life underwritten by love, powered by purpose, and seated with grace'.
"One seminar, in particular, was titled Building Your Legacy: Creating a Career of Impact," she added. "This session helped me to develop a personal mission statement that will help influence my daily decisions and keep me focused on the things I consider important."
Radzville also noted the importance of a self-defense class which she plans to extend to her sisters in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority this fall.
Burnette, a rising junior from Livonia, Mich., and a forward for the Britons, also wants to share a message with the women involved in Greek life on campus as well as students she mentors at Harrington Elementary School in Albion.
"A quote that was shared during the conference that I will incorporate into my everyday life was 'when in power remember that there is someone just as smart as you out there who does not have the same opportunity as you," Burnette said. "I attended a session about ways to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community with our language, especially in Greek Life, and I learned such interesting and new concepts. I am looking to bring this information back to Albion's Greek Life in order to make our campus and activities more supportive and available to all. Also, I am excited to use what I learned and put it towards Harrington Elementary and working to educate and liberate young females (or any gender).
A rising junior from Berkley, Mich., Wolford has hopes of opening a yoga studio after graduation. While the seminar on entrepreneurship was important, she also was engaged in the panel on the current state of race and justice on campus.
"The panelists explained that entrepreneurship seems to be very glorified in the media, highlighting stories such as Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook," Wolford said. "They openly shared the many failures and bumps in the road that they encountered as they were trying to start their businesses. I left feeling inspired as all the women collectively agreed that you can start your own business, as long as you're able to take criticism, stay open to new ideas and changes, and be resilient.
"I was able to learn how I can use my white privilege in order to help make room for minority groups to feel safe in spaces where they often times aren't allotted the opportunity because of discrimination," Wolford added. "I learned that the root of these multifaceted problems that we talk about all the time such as racism actually goes beyond just people, there are huge problems in fundamental structure that are woven throughout the fabric of our society today. I left challenging myself with the question: How can I present change to an institution so that its duration lasts beyond my time there?"
Wolford concluded, "Overall, it felt so amazing to be surrounded by some of the most passionate, ambitious, intelligent women I've met, all coming together to empower and learn from one another. One of the biggest things that I will take away from the conference was the quote, 'if she wins, I win.' A huge theme throughout the whole conference was women supporting each other and having each other's backs, instead of seeing each other as competition."
Note: The experience was sponsored by the AAUW student organization, AAUW Albion branch, and the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service
Follow Albion women's soccer on Twitter (@AlbionWSoccer) on Instagram (albionwomenssoccer) to keep up to date with everything about the Briton women's soccer team