How these identity-based clubs work to improve the University’s inclusion efforts

Students view the artwork on display at the Black Creatives Collective “VISIONS: Interpretations of Afrofuturism” exhibit on Feb. 10, 2023 in the Lakeside Pavilion. Photo credit: Reese Putnam

Nearly 11% of the student organizations at the University of Miami were created by students who noticed a lack of diverse spaces on campus.

Historically-underrepresented students make up the majority of the student population, and some students feel that campus clubs do more than the University to make these diverse students feel welcomed.

Here are some student organizations that were started by students to fill a void on campus.

Black Creatives Collective

BCC showcases Black creatives to put underrepresented artists in the limelight. Composed of photographers, fashion designers, musicians, artists, filmmakers and creative writers, BCC unites Black creatives to host immersive art exhibitions and performances.

Hannah Celian, BCC outreach director and senior studying music industry and psychology, says the University could do more to recognize the club’s originality.

“Sometimes the smaller, more niche organizations are seen as a sub-sector of larger orgs and not as our own thing,” Celian said. “Yes, we all support one another, but our uniqueness is important too.”

BCC prides itself on filling a space they found void. With annual exhibitions that showcase rising artists’ pieces, the BCC works to cement Black creatives’ impact on the University.

“When you attend a predominately white institution as a minority student, it can feel overwhelming and almost like you do not belong,” Celian said. “It is organizations like BCC that made me feel comfortable, because I felt like my identity was being appreciated and celebrated.”

Follow BCC on Instagram, @blackcreativescollective.

Slavic Culture Club

SCC highlights Slavic and Eastern European culture with dining hall collaborations and conversations with European artists. The organization looks to educate non-European students and honor Slavic languages, traditions and customs.

Bella Haham, SCC president and senior studying biochemistry and nutrition, noticed many students had roots in Eastern Europe, but no organization to unite them. Since 2022, Haham and fellow board members have used the SCC to connect European students and celebrate their ethnic backgrounds.

“We also aim to highlight the richness and diversity of Slavic traditions, contribute to a more vibrant and multifaceted university environment and promote cross-cultural appreciation and unity,” Haham said.

SCC feels that establishing awareness campaigns will promote empathy about such conflicts, letting European students feel understood and included. The organization looks forward to hosting more outreach events and educational initiatives.

Follow SCC on Instagram @umslaviccultureclub.

Out in STEM

National organization oSTEM empowers LGBTQ+ students in STEM by providing an encouraging environment to promote advocacy against discrimination.

By organizing campus events like Pride Awareness and LGBTQ+ in STEM week, oSTEM works to instill confidence in students and prepare them for success.

Secretary of oSTEM and marine biology and ecology senior Kyle Torrence-Johnson feels the first step to better campus inclusivity is better faculty training. By giving faculty sensitivity training, Torrence-Johnson hopes that members of the UM community will better understand and respect LGBTQ+ issues.

“We improve upon the University’s diversity initiative by providing a supportive network that connects LBGTQ+ individuals and allies,” Torrence-Johnson said.

The organization advocates for more University support for campus events that promote and amplify LGBTQ+ individuals and clubs.

“oSTEM was created to empower LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies to succeed personally, academically, and successfully in the world,” Torrence-Johnson said. “oSTEM’s future is to continue advocating for policies and practices that foster diversity, inclusivity and equality in education.”

Follow oSTEM on Instagram

Out in Business

Out In Business is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students in the Herbert Business School.

OBUS President and business management sophomore Gabe Puertoreal created OBUS due to the lack of LGBTQ+ student-led organizations in the Herbert Business School.

“The University could do a better job of connecting incoming LGBTQ+ students with the current organizations and clubs that already exist on campus so they don’t feel ​ostracized,” Puertoreal said.

OBUS connects LQBTQ business students with entrepreneurs and allies to foster lifelong connections and build character.

“We envision that Out in Business becomes a place where students both within and outside of the Business School can come to connect with a large network of businesses that provide healthy work environments and ​valuable work experiences to LGBTQ+ individuals and allies,” Puertoreal said.

Follow OBUS on Instagram, @outinbusinessum.


TRANScendence, an organization that advocates for transgender students, started as a focus group for transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming students.

Seniors Ryan Hires and Taylor Jagolinzer, the club’s president and vice president check-in with members at every meeting to ensure student needs are being met.

While students urge the University to implement LGBTQ+-specific housing, they hope for a stronger administration response when legislation targeting transgender students is passed.

“Students want to know that they are supported and safe at UM, and that, in the worst case, the University will have their backs,” said Hires, a gender and sexuality studies major.

The organization’s advocacy for transgender students led to a recent policy change, allowing transgender students to adjust their ’Cane Cards with their preferred name for free, contrary to charging for a replacement.

“This was not a result of malicious intent, but rather a lack of conversation with those in charge about this issue being present,” said Jagolinzer, a marine science major.

Follow TRANScendence on Instagram, @umtranscendence.

These organizations plan numerous outreach events to heighten their campus impact and cement their legacy. By participating in these student-led events, students can be a part of their story.