Major: Social Work
Child Welfare Certificate
Black Student Union President
Class of 2021
Gabryel Porter ’21, a social work student, member of the school’s Racial Equity Committee and president of the Black Student Union (BSU), believes in the power of community and activism on campus.
A BSU member since her freshman year and president since her junior year, Porter is an expert on the club’s mission and operations. “I’ve been in BSU every year I’ve been at Cedar Crest and I feel like I know a little bit about everything that goes on with it,” Porter says. “I’m happy to be president, to be here for my peers and to secure this safe space for them.”
This fall, BSU, along with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), athletics and the Student Activities Board, helped plan the College’s Black Lives Matter Week. Held from October 12-17, 2020, the week featured different programs and events to show support for the Black community on campus and in the area.
A stand-out event for Porter was the Black Lives Matter demonstration, which included a march and speeches by students, alumnae and local activists. “There was so much support. There were so many allies there with us,” she says. While the event was small, Porter believes its impact will be far-reaching.
“This is going to be great for Cedar Crest history, and it’s going to be great for the BSU after me. I feel like this is just the start,” says Porter.
For Porter, the week was an important way to bring awareness of social justice issues and the spirit of activism to our campus. “As a school, it sometimes feels like we’re in our own little world,” she says. “Out in the world, you see allyship, you see support, you see marches. So I feel like that should be reflected on our campus to start showing support, and to say to people of color and our Black students that we are here.”
Porter sees strong connections between her extracurricular involvement, her academic studies, her values and her professional goals. “My values as a woman of color really align with social work and definitely align with being BSU president. In social work, there is always a need for ethics and advocacy. Minorities are, of course, a vulnerable community, and there is always a need to advocate for them. My experience on campus reflects some of what I hope to be doing as a social worker,” she says.
She thanks CDI staff and social work faculty for their support throughout her Cedar Crest journey. After graduation, Porter plans to return to her home state of Connecticut and pursue a career in social work.