Students launch Brown Girl Link Up

Monday 14 February 2022


A group of St Catharine’s undergraduate students has played a leading role in establishing Cambridge University Brown Girl Link Up (BGLU), a new community for South Asian women and non-binary people at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Holly Canuto (2020), Senior Tutor at St Catharine’s, commented:

“St Catharine’s is a diverse and vibrant community wholly committed to fostering an environment where everyone is able to thrive and belong. I am delighted to hear that friendships and sense of belonging enjoyed by our Freshers at the very start of the year have been pivotal in the formation of BGLU. I must also commend them for their kindness in seeking to open up an initial group of friends into a larger community to benefit and support students across Cambridge.”

We caught up with BGLU founders and co-presidents Amrutha Vudathu, a first-year Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion undergraduate, and Nusrat Razzaque, a first-year Law undergraduate.

Where did the idea for BGLU come from?

“We arrived as Freshers at Catz to find we were both living in the same household along with another two brown girls. It can be daunting when you’re setting out on your own and away from loved ones so it’s really comforting to know that there are other students nearby at the intersection between female/non-binary and brown identities. We quickly became friends and our household was a place where friends at other Colleges or from home could feel welcome.

“One day we started a WhatsApp group called Brown Girl Link Up, added some of the brown girls we knew across different Colleges and messaged everyone to see who wanted to go out for dessert. It ended up being a great evening and we were eager to find a way to build on the experience and encourage other students to get involved.”

Nusrat Razzaque and Amrutha Vudathu
Nusrat Razzaque and Amrutha Vudathu

What is the purpose of BGLU?

“It’s a new network of South Asian women and non-binary people at the University of Cambridge designed to create a united community and safe space that will empower students and enrich their time at Cambridge. Although our faith or cultural traditions might not be the same, other brown female and non-binary students definitely share similar experiences.

“Ultimately, we are both extremely lucky to have diverse friendship groups and we’d never suggest restricting who you mix with while at Cambridge. However, if you are new to the University and finding your feet, or simply looking to broaden your social circle, we hope students will be glad of the chance to connect with BGLU.”

Who else is involved in BGLU?

“There are students from three different Cambridge Colleges represented on the BGLU Committee, but we are exceptionally proud of the three other Catz students who have stepped up to help us establish this new community:

  • Afrin Patel, a first-year Engineering undergraduate, is our Treasurer;
  • Sahana Kalam, a first-year HSPS undergraduate, is the Social Media & Publicity Officer; and
  • Khalisa Ismail, a first-year English student, is the Social Secretary.”

How are things going?

“In the first few weeks of launching on Instagram, we already attracted more than 150 followers. It’s been really promising to see all the interest from other year groups – not only Freshers like us! Already, BGLU has enabled Ammie to find another girl at Cambridge from the exact same community (Telugu) and we hope we’re able to help members make similar connections in the weeks ahead. We’ve started to create a term card of events and are gearing up to plan speaker events (ideally featuring alumnae achieving success in traditionally white fields) and a BGLU formal hall.”

How can potential BGLU members or supporters get involved?

“If you’d like to find out more, please reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook. Once you’re a member, we’ll add you to our growing WhatsApp group so you can connect with everyone else. If any alumnae would be interested in speaking or supporting our activities, you can also contact us at”