New women’s group comes to campus


A new group on campus, Stand Up For Your Sister, held their first official event in the Union for Panhellenic Pride Week on Thursday. The group invited 9Round Fitness to hold a 30 minute class to show women how physical activity is fundamental for a better mindset.

Melissa Balfour, co-owner and operator of 9Round Fitness, said the event was close to her heart. Balfour suffered from an eating disorder for 12 years, which took a toll on her body, health and ability as a gymnast.

“I did therapy, but it took years for me to become stronger,” Balfour said. “We want to help you step over these roadblocks and reach out to people with our workouts. Exercise can help so much with clearing your mind and making your day a little less hectic.”

Balfour and her team led participants in a 30 minute-long workout that included kickboxing techniques like punching, ducking and kicking to help release frustration and build confidence.

9Round Fitness lowered their registration cost to those who attended the event and donated 10 percent of each registered account to Stand Up For Your Sister’s campaign.

Sweatshirts and phone card holders were sold. Donations were also welcome to support the group.

Stand Up For Your Sister became a legal business only two weeks ago, but Staci Gann, senior in family studies and the group’s founder, started the groundwork a year ago. Gann is working with a lawyer for the organization to obtain non-profit status, which she said she hopes will happen in the next couple of weeks.

“This all started in a dorm room floor, and then we were able to spread it throughout the sororities on campus and eventually to everyone on campus,” Hannah Koenig, sophomore in sociology, said.

Stand Up For Your Sister’s mission is to empower, support and educate. Part of this mission entails funding scholarships to make counseling more affordable for women, Gann said.

“We want to be able to provide these kinds of resources for women who need inpatient care or counseling,” Gann said.

Once the group is granted nonprofit status, they will be able to start awarding the scholarships to women throughout campus.

Gann said she is currently a residential advisor in Ford Hall and used to be in a sorority, which is why her main her target is Greek life. However, the group’s services and outreach are available to everyone.

“We need to be open,” Koenig said. “So many girls struggle with issues like this, and we all need to support each other. Even if you think people are fine, you need to dig deeper.”

Currently, there are 120 girls involved in Stand Up For Your Sister. Word of the group is spreading throughout the states of Kansas, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Gann also gave a statement on behalf of the group regarding recent controversial events on campus.

“Our leadership team at Stand Up For Your Sister stands in solidarity with students on our campus who are suffering from the effects of blatant racism,” Gann said. “Our mission includes addressing and promoting the mental wellness of all women, and we include our black and multicultural sisters in that mission. The acts that have been occurring on our campus, in our community and nationally can directly impact the mental health of the students being targeted. Our intent is to use our mission of empowering, supporting and educating women to the best of our ability to combat that oppression.”

The group encourages women to support one another through tough times as well as reaching out for help.

“Everyone needs safety,” Gann said. “Everyone needs to feel okay in their own mind and skin. … We want to break the nasty stigma around mental health so people can have that conversation and provide help.”