(Posted October 12, 2022)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. — Following the sound of clippers and friendly chatter, visitors to Ellis Hall’s first floor will discover the barbershop at Juniata College, a vision a year in the making. 

“I am grateful to Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle (former Juniata College Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) for identifying and meeting this need within our campus community,” said Juniata College President James A. Troha. “I can’t thank her enough for the time she spent with us, the effort she made connecting with our community and leaving a legacy that will serve generations of Juniata students into the future.” 

The project was inspired by Sellers Battle’s conversations and connections with students, reinforced by her experiences as a college student seeking a stylist skilled in caring for Black hair. 

“I remember when I was an undergraduate, I didn’t feel quite right when I couldn’t get my hair done. It’s that feeling of not having everything in place that kind of takes you off your game. I didn’t want that for students,” Sellers Battle said. “Most importantly, I want them to feel loved, appreciated, and cared for. I’m so thankful this was able to happen.

The concept of a campus barbershop originated through an event celebrating hair and promoting confidence. 

“We were invited to attend the Hair Love event last year, and Dr. Sellers Battle felt there was a need for a place like this on campus,” said Leo Zerbee of The Studio Barbershop in Altoona, Pa. “You always feel better when someone’s done a nice job with your hair. You look good and feel good, making you more confident. You perform better when you feel good about your appearance.”

Drawing from her own difficulty locating a stylist near campus, Jada Murray ’23, manager and stylist at Juniata’s barbershop, became a stylist herself. 

“My first year, I would have to wait to get my hair done until I went home. When I wanted my hair pressed for Madrigal, there wasn’t an option to do that. Judging from conversations I’ve had, everyone has experienced some of that struggle,” Murray said. “I became a stylist to do my own hair and began doing other people’s on campus, too.”

Barbers and stylists will serve students from the fully-equipped barbershop by appointment. 

“This is something students on campus needed and wanted. Just having a community space for everyone to come and interact is important,” said Murray. “We have great barbers and stylists here who will offer haircuts, soft locs, braids, twists, dreadlocks, wash-and-gos, and natural hair care. There are people here who can take care of you.”

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.