After years of behind-the-scenes efforts, a beauty product machine has finally taken Transy another step in the right direction. The beauty product machine, distinct from a vending machine both due to the significance of its function and what it represents for this campus, sits adjacent to the multicultural room and pool area of the Campus Center, fully stocked with Black hair care products.
This machine was installed thanks to a joint effort between Transy’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department (DEI) and Melanie Day, owner of ‘You’ve Got Curls’ as an effort to make students feel more at home on campus. Day has worked in the Black hair care industry for nearly two decades and has been part of a multi-year effort to make these products available on college campuses.
“I’ve worked with a lot of clients who are students, and the question has been the same: they are moving to a new place, and they don’t know how to do their hair because of a lack of access to products,” Day said. “I had been thinking about a way I could get quality products on campus for maybe 6-7 years.”
An avenue for this opened up in 2020 when in-person hair care was no longer feasible due to COVID-19. “During COVID is when I had to take a pivot,” Day said. “People were asking ‘Hey, how can I do my hair at home?’ and I started doing one-on-one coaching.”
Day was familiar with other beauty product machines and loved the idea of getting Black hair care products onto campus for students. Day, however, decided to go above and beyond by visiting campuses.
“I had seen at another school something very similar and I thought this was a great way of getting things on campus for other students,” Day said, “I took it a step further with educating students on how to take care of their hair creating a community behind it, showcasing entrepreneurship all together.”
It was at this point that Transy DEI reached out to Day to organize an event centered around Black hair care. In the late fall of 2021, Day visited campus and witnessed an incredible turnout with an unprecedented level of engagement.
“Dr. Dennie had the idea to have a hairstylist come on campus and talk to the girls about their hair,” Krissalyn Love, director of DEI at Transy stated. “They ended up staying for hours asking questions. She was showing them how to do their hair, and from there Dr. Dennie was like, ‘Alright, clearly there needs to be more things on campus that cater to Black women and their hair.’”
Dr. Deidra Dennie was referenced often by both Love and Day as one of the driving forces behind getting this beauty product machine on campus. “I say her name often because Dr. Dennie did a lot of the formative work and now diversity is starting to be a big thing here at Transy,” Love said, “in all of the excitement it was easy to be like, this was all Transy’s doing when in reality a lot of this groundwork was Dr. Dennie.”
This accomplishment highlights the importance of Black hair care, and providing these products to students is a massive step in the right direction. However, it is just one part of Transy DEI’s larger goal to promote inclusion on campus.
“The main thing we are working on is a newsletter for marginalized groups on campus so that people are aware of the things that marginalized students are doing,” Love said. “It’s sometimes easy for marginalized students to get overlooked, so we wanted to highlight students and highlight the work they are doing.”
Transy Senior and DEI work-study student Alaysia Godfrey is helping with this newsletter and has a unique focus she wants to promote. “One of the goals I have for the newsletter is to highlight seniors of color and their accomplishments at Transy,” Godfrey states. “I feel like a lot of students coming in don’t really see that, and I think it would be nice for them to see that this is possible and this is stuff that I can do in a four-year time frame at Transy.”
The Transy community can look forward to monthly ‘Lunch and Learns’ with DEI for free food and good conversation. Also, be sure to check out “You’ve Got Curls” at gotcurls.com to see more of what Melanie Day offers for hair care.