Editor’s Note — This is part of a student conversation series highlighted as part of Black History Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series will feature students who are making impacts on campus and hope to maintain that momentum in future careers.
This week, we’re talking with Alaya Greene, a nutrition and health sciences major from Georgetown, South Carolina. On campus, she leads discussions and group bonding activities for Sister Circle, and she is working toward her goal of providing healthy resources to those in impoverished neighborhoods.
What drew you to your major?
Growing up, I was always interested in healthy eating and exercise. When I was younger, my parents and my granny taught me how to garden. My family had a huge garden in a small town called Crawford, Nebraska. The garden was so huge, I’m sure we shared our produce with every family in town. From those experiences, I developed a passion for learning more about nutritional foods and serving the community.
Is there anything, in particular, you want to do in the industry?
I want to be a part of the change that helps individuals and communities live healthier lives by having the resources necessary. With my experience in helping various non-profit organizations, I am sure that I can assist with the production and execution of providing the future young men and women of STEM with my support and experiences in health sciences. Within my future career, I plan to focus on providing healthy, equitable, and sustainable resources for impoverished neighborhood communities. This is a concept that is very dear to my heart and is the reason why I chose this area of study.
Describe Sister Circle for someone who has never heard of it.
Finding community in a predominantly white institution is already a challenge, let alone a community of young Black women. Sister Circle is a support group for African American and African women. We meet weekly for discussions, including topics surrounding sisterhood, academic stress, relationship stress, family concerns, expression of diversity and multiculturalism, and social issues for women of color. We have built a community on campus by cultivating a safe space to be ourselves around other women who look like us. Sister Circle allows young Black women to gather and destress from the week with our sisters.
Were you part of the group that started Sister Circle? What is your favorite part of being involved in the group?
My friend Amou had been in Sister Circle before the pandemic and was interested in reclaiming it for the community. She invited me to a meeting and ever since, my choice to join is making a difference in my experience here at UNL.
My favorite part about being in Sister Circle is meeting other Black women on campus and forming strong relationships with them.
Talk about speaking at Husker Dialogues — why you were interested in taking part?
I wanted to share my experiences on campus as a Black woman in the STEM field. From watching my Husker Dialogue video, I wanted students to feel more confident in themselves and to experience the various clubs and organizations on campus.
What or who inspires you?
What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?
My advice for other students looking to make an impact on campus would be to get out of their comfort zone and to start small. Starting small could simply be joining a new club meeting every week or attending UNL social events! As an introvert, I know how easy it can be to remain in your comfort zone. I also know how rewarding it is when you push yourself to take that step outside of your comfort zone. So just go for it!