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Successful Black Women of MSU (SBW)

Successful Black Women (SBW) is a registered student organization at Michigan State University that is committed to its mission to assist in the overall academic success of its peers, which includes the retention and graduation rates for both undergraduate and graduate women students at MSU. SBW has made great strides since its founding in 2008. The organization strives to provide the highest quality of programs and activities to develop proficient leaders among its constituents.


The purpose of Successful Black Women is to become one of the primary resources for African-American women at Michigan State University and to build a foundation to succeed in college and all future endeavors.  This organization shall strive to enhance relationships with other student organizations by seeking to build alliances with other goal-oriented students.


The goal of SBWMSU is to assist in the academic success, retention and graduation rates of its peers at MSU.  The organization promotes professional and personal development for its constituents.  SBWMSU has an interest in undergraduate students, particularly freshmen women.

Get Involved

Interested in being a member of SBWMSU, please contact one of the following individuals: 

• Audrey Bentley, co-Advisor (
• Audrey Smith, co-Advisor (

Signature Events

Peace Summit

Members of SBW recognize that they can’t perform at their best by working in isolation from others who have different cultural backgrounds than their own. One of the many ways SBW has chosen to build intercultural bridges is to host an annual Peace Summit during Spring semester of each year.  The intent of this Peace Summit is to allow participants an opportunity to gain greater insight into the common issues that they deal with locally and globally; to destroy myths and stereotypes about each other; to form alliances; and to galvanize student activism and become future social justice leaders.

Past Keynote Speakers:

2014:  Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press columnist, blogger, author and advocate for positive race relations and children. (March 30, 2014)

2013:  Donzaleigh Abernathy, writer, speaker, actress, director and producer, and the daughter of Civil Rights Activist Ralph and Juanita Abernathy. (April 14, 2013)

2012: Patricia M. Lowrie, Director, MSU Women’s Resource Center and Assistant to the Dean, MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. (April 15, 2012)

Pen Pal Initiative

The Pen Pal Initiative came into being in 2012 when a group of SBW members accepted the charge to empower a group of third grade girls at Shabazz Academy Public School through the art of writing.  The experience changed not only their lives, but the lives of the girls to whom they were writing.  As a result, this initiative has continued and expanded to include the boys in the class through the dynamic and generous support of male organizations at MSU who have continued to partner with SBW.

Pillow Talk

This program is one that speaks to relationships from a wide range of views, and touches on topics such as safety, respect, communication, etc.

Let’s Take it Black . . .

This is a 2-part series that addresses (1) MSU and education, and (2) MSU and social options. Both programs include a panel of individuals who will address the needs of the audience.


Each year since 2010, SBW has adopted a family for the holiday season as one of its ways of giving back in a powerful way and helping people who are less fortunate.

Additional Events

SBW hosts a number of other events, partners with other groups whose projects align with its mission, and volunteers at a number of on and off campus facilities.


Executive Board meetings and General Assembly meetings are held twice a month.  The schedule is determined according to members’ schedules and posted for members’ convenience.   


The Successful Black Women of MSU began in the Fall of 2008, inspired by discussions between two MSU women students and a male counterpart who was a member of the then, Successful Black Men of MSU.  For a complete history detail, visit the Successful Black Women of MSU's website.