HeForSWE Promotes Allyship With Female Peers

by Shannon Gleba, Senior Writer

The student body of Manhattan College is often full of allyship and support for their fellow Jaspers. In order to promote similar sentiments in the field of engineering, an organization called HeForSWE has been revamped within the past year as a space for male engineering students to become allies with their female peers. 

For a number of years, there has been a chapter of The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at the College which works to promote the involvement of women in the often male-dominated field of engineering. The society creates events and programming to get young girls involved in engineering, and to make it clear that anyone can study the topic. 

HeForSWE works to further these efforts, along with a number of different goals. MC’s chapter of HeForSwe’s Instagram account (@mc_heforswe) outlined the organization’s mission statement. 

“The mission of HeForSWE is to grow the inclusion and advocacy efforts of SWE by increasing the number of male allies in Stem Fields, expand the image of engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion,” the organization wrote. 

Since last year, HeForSWE has been run by a board of four students in the School of Engineering, and led by Ryan Truhn, a junior mechanical engineering major. As the club’s director, Truhn oversees the events and happenings of the club.

The other three members of the board include Austin Hourican, Matthew Kelly and Jemar Louis Ortega, all of whom share similar goals for HeForSWE. Hourican works as a liaison between the organization and the Civil Engineering Department.

“It is important to have HeForSWE at Manhattan College so we can let people know there are male allies for the women in STEM on campus, and that we can accomplish anything if we work together,” Hourican wrote in an email to the Quadrangle.

The club is planning to begin their programming during the week of March 22-26 during a week they call “HeForSWE Week.” Events throughout the week will be held both in-person and in a virtual setting, and will cover a number of different topics.

On March 24, Rachel Cirelli, director of the Manhattan College Center for Career Development, will be hosting an information session, sponsored by HeForSWE. In addition, there will be raffles on Instagram, Q&A sessions with professors, a Movie on the Quad, along with a host of other events. This week will be an opportunity for all students to learn what the club is all about, and to get involved in their efforts.

In the upcoming weeks and months, Truhn said the HeForSWE Instagram account will become even more active and eager to have a wider reach to students at MC. 

“A big idea of ours is getting on social media,” Truhn said. “So, having a social media presence, we want to keep people informed virtually. We are going to be sending out newsletters, and they are going to include important information resources and are going to include quotes from SWE members and professors.”

All in all, the organizers are looking forward to working alongside SWE in order to achieve both club’s main goals.

“If we want to change the standard of engineering being a male-dominated field, a great place to get involved is in college,” Kelly said. “This is where students are not only learning the essential math, science, and engineering skills associated with becoming a great engineer, but also what new and innovative solutions they can contribute going into their field. By bringing an informative and inclusive resource to Manhattan College that is HeForSWE, we hope that we can help encourage a generation of future engineers who will look forward to helping create a more eclectic and diverse engineering field.”