MeaResea and Elizabeth's Reflections on Her Campus Agnes Scott

This lovely campus magazine wasn’t always the beacon of Agnes culture and go-to place for both politics and pop music that you see before you on your screen. When MeaResea Homer and Elizabeth Wolfe worked together as President and Vice-President respectively to re-launch Her Campus Agnes Scott way back in September 2016, it took a lot of writing, recruiting, and elbow grease. (Elbow glitter?)

Since both MeaResea and Elizabeth will be graduating in just under a month, I thought I’d commemorate their hard work by grabbing a drink in Ebrik Coffee Room and talking with them about the process of re-launching Her Campus Agnes Scott three years ago, and what’s changed since then.

MeaResea Homer ‘19 and Elizabeth Wolfe ‘19. Photo Credit: Alex Brown

 

HC: What initially made you want to re-launch the chapter?

MeaResea Homer: I think Elizabeth and I got together on this idea when we were on an Emerging Leaders session [in first year] and [Elizabeth] was saying that [she] wanted to bring more media publications to the Agnes Scott campus community, and it was towards the end of the session, so right after that I came up to you and that’s when I told you about Her Campus and the idea that I had had for a while, to bring Her Campus to Agnes Scott. We just emailed back and forth for a while and got it started up that summer.

 

HC: Was it hard to find writers at first?

Elizabeth Wolfe: We used Facebook -- no, that was when you could “hashtag students”! Shame on us, we used “hashtag students.” [That infamous all-students email listserv that students are no longer allowed to use.] That was when everyone was using it for everything. We were posting on Facebook groups, we were hashtag-students-ing, we had this big -- oh my god, I remember now, we had this big spreadsheet of everyone that had expressed interest, and it was a lot of people.

MH: We had to get at least a hundred people, [Her Campus national] said.

EW: Not to say that they were in the organization, but to say that they were interested or wanted something like that on campus. [...] It was a feat. I think we got closer to 200. I wonder if I could find that [spreadsheet]. That would be so funny to look at.

 

And then we had to have writers interested. We had to have sample articles.

 

MH: During the process of on-boarding, I think we had to have two phone interviews. Also editing tests.

 

EW: I remember that phone call, I was living in Florida, I was a waitress at the time, and I had been working until four a.m., and then I got up like three hours later and I was sitting in the seat of my car in my pajamas, like, scrunched up and it was Tampa and it was super hot and I was like, sweating, being like “Please just give us a Her Campus chapter!” [laughing]

 

HC: What were your roles at the beginning of the chapter, and how did you build the first team of writers and other staff?

 

MH: We wrote a lot of articles, edited a lot of articles, uploaded every single one, for a while.

EW: At first we had to write six articles, so each of us wrote three for that first week because we didn’t want to ask people before they had even had a meeting. Yeah, we had no senior editor, no money, we weren’t chartered… it was a struggle for a while.

 

HC: How long did it take to get to a point where the chapter felt stable?

MH: Honestly, probably not until that next year. The first year, in general, some nights Elizabeth and I would try to come up with articles on the spot.

EW: Every week it was a struggle to meet the social media and article deadlines. That was a wild time.

 

HC: How do you think the chapter has changed since then?

EW: Well, we used to meet in the Winship basement. [laughs] And I used to bring my TV from my room upstairs and use it for our display screen for meetings because we couldn’t rent space because we weren’t chartered. And that was before the basement was renovated, so it was gross! Most of the people who were there in the beginning aren’t there anymore… probably because we made them meet in the Winship basement.

 

HC: What are some of your most memorable articles?

MH: I did like the first one we wrote together, the one called “Her Campus: Not Just for ‘Her.’” I think it was [Elizabeth’s] idea and I contributed a bit to it.

EW: I think something that we’ve always struggled with is the fact that it’s called ‘Her Campus,’ and we didn’t want to alienate people who don’t identify with ‘her’ pronouns at Agnes. That’s something that I struggle with to the end.

MH: I’m still, even now, trying to figure out ways to let students know that, too. I think now we’re trying to be a lot more transparent about [that inclusivity], because before we were just trying to stabilize ourselves.

EW: [In the beginning] we got a lot of articles that were like, “What to do when your boyfriend…” and we kept having to tell our writers, “Don’t gender everything that you write,” or, when you write about Tinder, make it gender neutral. That was a big step that we made in kind of breaking through that.

 

MH: I really liked Helen’s Sophomore Ring Ceremony tea article.

EW: Oh my godddd, the tea!

MH: We got some attention for that one. One writer who was on the Ring Ceremony committee wrote about the miscommunication [that year] about the cost of sophomore ring ceremony and actually attending the event, and questions about students’ families paying to attend the dinner. So that’s when Helen came in with the article. Later on, an email was sent out by someone who was part of the organizing of the ceremony, and within the email it said “From an article posted on the Her Campus website, we’re deciding to take the fees off of the ring ceremony.”

 

EW: I also remember I wrote an article last year about the moment when the RAs decided to take away the bathroom and refrigerator [privileges] in Walters [dorm]. I had overhead the RAs talking about it in class, they were kind of enjoying the power they had over other students, and I really hated that so I wrote an article about it. [laughs] I remember students were really hesitant to talk to me, I remember one girl who didn’t want to be quoted in the article met me on the patio of Alston, wouldn’t let me record her, was wearing a huge hoodie to hide her face, and was eating a popsicle the whole time. I was like, “This is so unusual!” It’s the weirdest interview I’ve ever done, but it was very funny.

 

Another one I really liked that I did was when the boutique Coco + Mischa was across the street, they started there and now they actually have a store in Ponce City Market -- I was their first customer and the first person to write about them. It was really fun. It was probably the first real sit-down interview I had done with someone.

 

HC: What would you change or continue to improve about Her Campus Agnes Scott if you had more time before graduation?

 

EW: I wish… I wish I’d had more time, personally, to invest in Her Campus [Agnes Scott.] I stopped being Editor-in-Chief after a family member very close to me died, and that was a really hard decision because I felt like I was abandoning MeaResea. I felt like I was scared that if I left, that maybe Her Campus Agnes Scott wouldn’t be able to keep going. I felt really bad about that, but I think you have to make decisions that in the long run are going to be healthy for you, and at the time it wasn’t healthy for me to be investing the time that I was in Her Campus and not in myself and in my family. And I wish that we’d invested in the team more in the beginning, giving them more opportunities to feel appreciated.

 

MH: As far as investing in the team, that’s something that I’ve been trying to do this year. For the first meeting of the year I gave away some of the Her Campus survival kits. I don’t want to just email you guys every week, like, “Have this article in!” I wanted you guys to know that we really do appreciate you. I also want to have more workshops for the writers and I wish that was a more regular thing, at least one per semester if not a regular thing.

 

EW: MeaResea’s done really cool things since I’ve left [the leadership position]. You’ve done a really good job.

 

MH: Thank you!

 

HC: How do you think Her Campus Agnes Scott has helped you in your post-grad plans?

 

MH: I am actually going to continue to do some journalism after graduation. I’m writing for a start-up company called Wize Media and their focus is on black wealth and black wealth management, so they just want me to write pieces about different things within that realm. I think my Her Campus experience with editing articles and Elizabeth’s push for fact-checking [will help me] be mindful.

 

EW: I think just being in a leadership role with Her Campus looks really good on a resume, like when you say you’ve managed a team of ten to fifteen, people get interested. Also, all of the jobs I’m applying for are journalism jobs, or writing in nonprofit sectors, or freelance things, so I think Her Campus has provided me with a really nice foundation. I think that it often has felt like I”ve been teaching myself, because, you know, when you’re the Editor-in-Chief, no one’s editing you! And we don’t have a journalism program, so it’s kind of like feeling around in the dark. But I think Her Campus has been a really amazing learning experience. We’ve definitely made some mistakes, but I’ve learned a lot -- like, a lot -- from Her Campus.

 

HC: Thank you both so much!

MeaResea Homer and Elizabeth Wolfe: Thank you.