arch7

The ARCH building houses student meeting rooms, CURF, cultural centers and more.

Photo: Luke Chen

A team of black undergraduate women and alumnae are out to fill a need on campus — one story at a time.

In order to influence and lead talented black undergraduate women through their first years of college, 17 female students and alumnae collaborated to share their experiences through a collection of short stories. The book, “Climbing Vines,” is composed of 17 separate narratives. They are rich and relatable pieces, and each aims to generate a dialogue about the experience of black undergraduate females on campus in a time when it is sorely needed.

“Climbing Vines” is as much of a commemoration as it is a call to action, however.

“I think ‘Climbing Vines’ is a great way to celebrate the black female presence on Penn’s campus,” Managing Editor of “Climbing Vines” and 2012 College graduate Courtney Paul said. ” It can be comforting, rallying, entertaining and surprising to discover the experiences of other people who share a common reality: We are all black women who went or are currently going to the University of Pennsylvania.

The book has an audience beyond the black community as well.

“It’s not only meant for black undergraduate women,” Executive Editor of “Climbing Vines” and 2012 College graduate Janay Sylvester said. “I think that there are so many things that are enlightening and thought-provoking in the educational context for undergraduate women on campus, period.”

And this is indeed true: In a book that discusses everything from sex to identity to the sophomore slump, there’s something for everyone.

“Any undergraduate student can find something to latch onto in the book,” Sylvester added.

“Climbing Vines” was released in September and the book is free and available at Makuu — Penn’s black cultural center — in Penn’s ARCH building.

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