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Douglass Residential College

Meet the Douglass D.I.V.A.S - Student Organization Spotlight

Douglass D.I.V.A.S.

Every other Thursday in the Douglass Student Center, the Douglass D.I.V.A.S. student organization brings the Douglass community together in conversation about the diverse set of issues that college-aged women face each day at Rutgers.

“The mission of our organization is to provide a network for all students with a strong interest in women's issues, by providing students a safe space to discuss, debate, socialize and create a bond that will positively contribute to each member's academic experience,” said Ryan Milne-Hood DRC’24, a biological sciences major and vice president of D.I.V.A.S.

“Douglass D.I.V.A.S. creates a safe space. It’s a group that I found solace in,” said Ayoade Ajayi DRC’24 is president of Douglass D.I.V.A.S. “Not only that, but I met some of my closest friends from being in a group like this. We create a space for comfort and support.”

The group hosts a range of events, including discussion-style meetings that empower Douglass students to share their experience and explore different perspectives. For Ayoade, a particularly impactful meeting was a group discussion on cultural and social expectations.

“I think it was nice to see that we struggle with a lot of the same things,” she said. “And we wouldn’t had known that unless we were sensitive enough to talk about such topics.”

“During the pandemic we had a meeting where the topic of discussion was daughters and their relationships with their fathers,” added Ryan. “The meeting was very positive and it was nice to see how relationships differed compared to others.”

D.I.V.A.S. creates a community formed around open-mindedness and shared experience, while also celebrating difference and healthy dialogue.

 “The most valuable thing I gained from Douglass D.I.V.A.S. were my friends and a sense of belonging,” said Ryan. “Being a part of this group for me means that I can provide a place where other women can come and feel comfortable without worrying about receiving any backlash for their opinions, which is important. I want to make sure everybody's voice is heard when discussing different topics and I am able to do so with this organization.”

This semester, D.I.V.A.S. will host their Sisterhood Brunch, where they invite a panel of women from different career fields to talk about their paths and provide advice to students.

After Rutgers, Ryan plans to work as a scientist in a pharmaceutical lab, before going on to medical school and pursuing a career in neonatology. Ayoade intends to pursue cosmetology school and open her own shop, while also working in the mental health and aid space. 

“D.I.V.A.S. has provided me with multiple leadership positions,” Ryan said. “These positions have helped me when networking with different individuals in different fields ranging from working on Wall Street to scientist in a lab.”

Students interested in Douglass D.I.V.A.S can join general body meetings every other Thursday at 9:00 PM in the WCC on the 3rd floor of the Douglass Student Center. They also offer a mentorship program called Adopt a Diva and applications for that will be opening soon.

The best way for students to connect with D.I.V.A.S. is on Instagram @douglassdivas.