Meredith Pong, a junior at Harvard University studying Sociology, realized her local community was lacking female-focused spaces and programming. So, she set out to make a change. She started the Muse, an open and inclusive women-focused event series that aims to inspire positive and supportive relationships throughout Harvard's community.
Pong is also involved in several other spheres at Harvard — from being a residential ambassador for women on color to dancing hip hop. We spoke to her about her inspiration behind the Muse, her event planning wins and how she spread the word about her initiative. Then, she shared her top tip for young women who want to get involved in their communities.
How are you making an impact on your school or local community?
I am the creator of the Muse, an inclusive women-focused event series at Harvard. We aim to inspire positive and supportive relationships between students, faculty and the local community. The Muse promotes self-growth and empowerment by hosting events that inform and encourage its members to strive toward the larger goal of advancing women in society.
On campus, there is a lack of female-focused spaces and programming. The Muse hopes to fill a part of that gap and provide necessary social support to women's issues at Harvard. The Muse is also a reaction to the exclusivity and competitive environment at Harvard. We specifically want to provide a space that is open and welcoming to all.
I am passionate about creating support systems across campus for women's issues. From my own experience and my friend's experiences, I learned the importance of creating a space where students of all ages could connect regardless of their race, socio-economic status, gender, etc. I deeply wish to build this type of community at Harvard.
I began the project myself and now am excited to be working with the Muse's board. The idea came about mid-August of this year and I floated it to a few friends and mentors. Luckily, my mentors shared positive and constructive feedback with me. I reached out to many companies for advice and we are thankful to have been supported by Girls Who Code, Bulletin, Rent the Runway, Forty Winks and more.
On campus, I am a women of color ambassador for some of the residential houses. I am also an avid baker and bake for weekly house-wide tea ceremonies. I enjoy dancing in Expressions, a hip hop dance show, as well. Currently, I am excited because I am spending my spring semester abroad in Italy.
I am proud of hosting an event with free bra fittings at Forty Winks, a local lingerie store. It is owned by two rockstar moms who also shared helpful tips about female entrepreneurship at the event. Wearing the right sized bra can transform someone's entire day, and I am grateful that the Muse could provide a comforting environment for individuals to be fitted. It is our priority to make every event special and have all attendees benefit in a meaningful way. I am especially proud of this event for accomplishing these goals.
We've faced many challenges that are typical of a new venture. The biggest challenge is awareness and getting people to recognize the Muse. Since it is a new club, we worked very hard on creating compelling events, a frequent and comprehensive publication strategy and an Instagram presence. I do not think we have overcome this challenge, but some of the effects are definitely mitigated through our careful strategy.
Stay Hungry - keep fighting with purpose, intention, and intensity regardless of the challenges.
Right now it's Chrissy Teigen, because she is always unapologetically herself. I also am consistently impressed by Misty Copeland and Constance Wu.
"Umbrella" by Rihanna.
"The Best of Everything" by Rona Jaffe.
Fairygodboss is all about celebrating female leaders — so every other week, we celebrate a young woman who is making a difference in her school or local community. Do you know a student leader who’s making an impact? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.