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Women’s networking group seeks to expand brand on campus

McKenzie Maxson, Reporter

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With an increase in membership from last year, Northwestern’s chapter of 85 Broads, the global networking group for women, is now expanding efforts to promote its brand on campus.

NU’s chapter currently has a total of 149 members. SESP sophomore Nikki Adler, the group’s vice president of membership, said 46 out of 78 applicants were accepted into the group this year.

85 Broads at Northwestern is a chapter of a global network. On NU’s campus, it focuses on connecting inspiring, empowering and connecting women from many different fields through their common interest in the organization. 85 Broads is tentatively planning a panel for Nov. 15.

“85 Broads at NU is in the phase of growing, and we know we have a bumpy road ahead of us,” said Weinberg junior Sunny Lee, the group’s vice president of marketing. “We definitely want to have more events and make sure that members of our organization have strong connections with each other.”

The NU chapter is self-sufficient and student-run but is also able to work a lot with professional networks in Chicago and the chapter there, a connection that is very important to the 85 Broads executive board, Adler said.

“In addition to adding new members, it’s also important that we now have a really solid alumni base,” said 85 Broads president Haley Rucker, a SESP senior. “I think it was really a commitment from the past few years’ executive board’s dedication and motivation toward marketing that attracted more people.”

The group usually hosts two events per quarter, ranging from internship conferences to panels of successful women from many different fields. It also has an internal mentorship program, which focuses on matching underclassmen with upperclassmen who share similar interests or career goals and can help them throughout their time at NU.

“Just a few weeks ago, we had an event at the Celtic Knot that was just a mingling for our girls to get to know each other after recruitment was over,” Adler said. “Also, last spring we went to J. Crew, and we had a personal shopper and we got an extra discount on business casual. With our events we have a balance.”

85 Broads is extending its events this year to include fireside chats. It is also trying to create more co-sponsored events that are open to the public to increase awareness of the group’s brand on campus. Its focus now is letting NU students know the real purpose of 85 Broads, Adler said.

“It’s not just for women who are going into business,” Adler said. “It’s really just about women who are passionate and driven to succeed … people who really understand why the women’s networking organization is important.”