Social Justice Resource Center


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Northeastern University Empower - Linking communities, igniting social consciousness, and inspiring leadership among students of color!

EMPOWER provides a supportive community for students of color at Northeastern, offering resources and programming that promote academic success, personal growth, and cultural exploration.

The EMPOWER Student of Color Collective program at Northeastern University was established in 2011. The program was created in response to student-led efforts to address issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.

EMPOWER provides a supportive community for students of color at Northeastern, offering resources and programming that promote academic success, personal growth, and cultural exploration. The program also aims to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment among students of color, helping them to navigate the challenges of higher education and prepare for success in their future careers.

EMPOWER program offers a range of resources and services, including mentorship, leadership development, and cultural programming. The program also sponsors a variety of events throughout the year, including workshops, cultural celebrations, and community service opportunities.

The EMPOWER program has been a valuable addition to Northeastern’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on campus and has helped to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for students of color.

History of EMPOWER

Empower 2011: A retreat for leaders of student of color organizations: Empower to build relationships, explore common ground, and create a stronger community at Northeastern 2011. Asian American Center, Student Leadership, John D. O'Bryant African American Institute, Residential Life, Latino/A Student Cultural Center

Since its founding in 2011, EMPOWER has been the cornerstone of the leadership development of students of color.

  • Once upon a time in the Spring of 2010, Delia Cheung Hom (Director of the Asian American Center) and Bob Jose (Associate Dean of Cultural, Residential and Spiritual Life) dreamed up an idea.  There was a need to develop more intentional connections between the various communities of students of color on campus.  Despite having the Asian American Center, the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute, and the Latino/a Student Cultural Center, there were no structured, intentional spaces bringing together different communities of students of color on campus.  
  • As a result of this idea, Delia and Bob set out to develop more meaningful ways for students to connect.  This began by reaching out to leaders of student of color organizations in the Spring of 2010.  The first concrete plan was to host a retreat for leaders of student of color organizations at Northeastern.  The planning for this retreat began in the summer of 2010. The first EMPOWER Retreat planning team consisted of staff members representing the three cultural centers on campus as well as LEAD360.
  • The first ever EMPOWER Retreat was held in January 2011 in Sandwich, MA.  After the retreat, there were several smaller events aimed at creating opportunities for other students to mix and mingle with students from other communities.  
  • Seeing the success of these types of programs, it was clear that EMPOWER needed to grow.  For 2011-2012, it was decided that there would be two main events providing spaces for students to connect and build community: the EMPOWER Retreat in the fall and the EMPOWER Conference in the spring.  The goal of the newly created EMPOWER Conference was to provide a different opportunity to students to connect and explore themes of identity and leadership within a community of students of color.
  • In 2014-2015, EMPOWER first developed the EMPOWER Fellows.  These Fellows were students from the community who would help implement the various programs for EMPOWER and provide student input in to the process.  
  • To date, staff members involved with EMPOWER have come from offices including the Asian American Center, Center for Student Involvement, the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute, the LGBTQA Resource Center, the Latinx Student Cultural Center, LEAD360,  Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Scholarship and Opportunity Programs, Residential Life , and the Social Justice Resource Center.
  • EMPOWER creates and facilitates programming through collaboration with the: 
    • Asian American Center
    • Center for Intercultural Engagement
    • Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service
    • John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute
    • Latinx Student Cultural Center
    • LGBTQA Resource Center
    • Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
    • Residential Life
    • and the Social Justice Resource Center.

Our Team

Our team is made up of a collaboration with EMPOWER a co-chair and EMPOWER student fellows.

EMPOWER Co-Chair: 

  • The EMPOWER co-chair at Northeastern University is responsible for leading and overseeing the EMPOWER program. The co-chair works closely with the EMPOWER team to develop and implement initiatives aimed at increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the university’s community.
  • The co-chair serves as an advocate for EMPOWER Fellows and also collaborates with faculty, staff, and other stakeholders to ensure that EMPOWER initiatives are aligned with the university’s overall diversity and inclusion goals.
  • In addition, the co-chair plays a key role in fundraising and community outreach efforts, working to build partnerships and secure resources to support the program’s growth and impact. Overall, the EMPOWER co-chair serves as a leader and ambassador for diversity and inclusion at Northeastern, helping to create a more equitable and supportive environment for all students.

EMPOWER Fellows: 

  • EMPOWER student fellows at Northeastern University are selected to participate in the program as leaders for students of color.
  • As ambassadors for the EMPOWER program, Fellows participate in recruitment and outreach efforts to attract new participants and promote the program’s impact. They also collaborate with the EMPOWER team to develop and implement initiatives aimed at increasing multicultural engagement and diversity within the community. 
  • Through their participation in the program, Fellows gain leadership skills, as well as a deeper understanding of issues related to diversity and inclusion. Overall, EMPOWER student fellows play a critical role in fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for BIPOC students at Northeastern.
  • Check out the contact us page to sign up for our mailing list and subscribe to our social media.
  • We recruit during the spring semester for the next cohort of EMPOWER Fellows and will send out details via social media and e-mail! 
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Annual Retreat

  • The EMPOWER Retreat is designed to fortify students of color in their leadership at Northeastern University and beyond, to focus on shared experiences, and to critically examine various issues that relate to identity, intersectionality, and leadership.
  • The retreat takes place off-campus for multiple days in a full immersion experience. Students will participate in workshops, discussion and dialogue, and various activities aimed to strengthen specific leadership skills, such as empathy, communication, and intercultural understanding and appreciation. 
  • Look out for a communication to apply to be a retreat attendee in early fall!
  • Student perspective: 
    • “Retreat was an excellent way for me to connect with other students of color on campus across the different cultural centers! Being in nature and openly discussing and processing identity together really made me feel close to others and was a welcome change of pace to the often stifling academic culture of higher education” – Kaitlyn Soo, Fall 2022
Empower Retreat 2022

Annual Conference

  • The EMPOWER Conference is a day long event to provide students of color on campus with an opportunity to develop awareness, knowledge and skills that will allow them to become successful leaders within their student organizations or community.
  • In this conference, Fellows and other students lead their own workshops, and a keynote speaker is hosted. Some examples of student-led workshops in the past include: Uncomplicating Self Care and Defeating Imposter Syndrome, Navigating Microaggressions and Building Intercultural Solidarity, and more. 
2019 Empower Conference

Other Events

  • EMPOWER’s movie nights are a fun and relaxing way to unwind with friends. We showcase a range of films that are both entertaining and thought-provoking, giving our members the opportunity to enjoy quality cinema while connecting with like-minded individuals. We specifically watch a diverse array of movies, featuring casts of color. 
  • Our most recent screening was of the movie Summer of Soul.
  • Our panelist events feature diverse experts from various fields who share their insights and experiences with our members. These events are a great way to learn about new subjects, get advice, and network with professionals in different industries. It is also a great resource to learn how BIPOC individuals have become successful in their fields and overcome structural barriers. 
  • Our most recent panel consisted of our BIPOC business panel event, in which we local BIPOC business owners spoke about their experiences and challenges as entrepreneurs. 
  • EMPOWER’s study nights provide a productive and supportive environment for members to work on their academic goals. Whether you need help with a specific subject or just a quiet place to focus, our study nights offer a space to learn and grow together.
  • We hold our study nights most frequently near midterm and final season at Northeastern.
  • Our mixers are social events that bring together EMPOWER members and their friends. These gatherings are an opportunity to meet new people, make connections with a diverse community, and have fun in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
  • We hold a minimum of 2 mixers, our Fall kick-off mixer, and our Spring social mixer. 
  • EMPOWER’s reflective activities are designed to help members connect with their inner selves and cultivate mindfulness. These events may include meditation, journaling, and other introspective exercises that foster personal growth and well-being.
  • Our most recent reflective activity consisted of our Ignite at Night event, which was a night of reflection and discussion about identity and belonging for students of color and first generation students.
  • At EMPOWER, we believe in celebrating diversity and promoting cultural awareness. Our multicultural appreciation events showcase different traditions, languages, and perspectives, creating a space for members to learn and appreciate the richness of different cultures.
  • Examples of such events include a multicultural show, or open-mic nights for the EMPOWER community.