We’re catching up with our AEO REAL Change Social Justice scholars to see how they’re demonstrating the power of their actions and voices to make REAL change.
Alicia found the perfect first job when she joined the Aerie team in 2018 as a stock associate. Not only was it her favorite clothing brand, but she lived close to her hometown mall – making it easy to work weeknight and weekend shifts while in high school. She never imagined that one day she’d be surprised by her managers and fellow associates as a recipient of the AEO REAL Change Scholarship for Social Justice.
“Honestly, I’m still in shock,” shares Alicia. “I was working in the stock room and realized – that’s my name on the check! I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”
Alicia was one of 15 AEO associates awarded the inaugural scholarship in 2021 for her work in advancing social justice. As a high school senior, Alicia was inspired to help register and encourage her community to vote. She volunteered phone banking, text banking and worked with her school to hold a voter registration drive for eligible students. More than 65% of her classmates made their voice heard in that election.
Now a student at Ursinus College exploring political science and peace and social justice majors, Alicia is looking forward to pursuing new ways to drive civic engagement among her community. She also recognizes the importance that a scholarship like this holds, especially when it comes to furthering education and bringing people together from various walks of life.
“Education allows students from diverse backgrounds to engage with one another and to learn about life experiences different from one’s own. I think that education is an essential component to social justice as it allows individuals to become aware of the various systems they live and operate in and how they affect themselves and others,” noted Alicia.
One of the best pieces of advice that Alicia shared for her peers who might want to get involved is to find something that interests them and show up to make a difference. As for companies that want to advance social justice, Alicia shares, “I think it is imperative that companies intending to promote social justice and equality genuinely commit themselves to various social justice causes. I find the Aerie REAL campaign to be a great example of this, as AEO responded to the need for body positivity in fashion and committed to making a necessary change.”
Congratulations, Alicia! We’re proud that you’re part of the AEO community!
Could you be the next AEO REAL Change Scholar? The 2022-2023 scholarship fund is now open for full and part-time AEO associates and we’re looking for the next 15 changemakers who are actively driving anti-racism, equality and social justice initiatives in their communities. Check out your My Real Rewards App or the Digital Communication Center for information on how to apply. Applications are due by March 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EST.