Meet Talia Santopadre of Her Campus Emerson

Boston is a college town, so much so that people joke the city feels empty once summer hits and all the students filter out of their respective dorms to travel home. Many universities in this city house a chapter of Her Campus, creating a network of writers, editors, publishers, event planners, and correspondents alike. I recently sat down with Talia Santopadre to learn about her experience as a Her Campus Correspondent (abbreviated CC) for Emerson College.

Talia is a sophomore at Emerson College, located in the heart of downtown Boston. She’s majoring in Emerson’s unique Writing, Literature, and Publishing program (WLP for short) with a concentration in publishing and a minor in marketing. In addition to her academics, she helps run five clubs and works two jobs. Her roommate jokes with stunned amazement that Talia simply doesn’t sleep. In a sentence, she is the college student that thrives off full immersion into the college experience.

Talia comes from a small city outside of Providence, Rhode Island called Cranston. She learned of Emerson’s WLP program from a neighbor, and traveled to Boston to tour the school.

“I saw Emerson and absolutely hated it,” she laughs. “That’s my favorite story to tell. Right before I toured I got off the T and said ‘this is never going to happen.’ Cranston is such a small place and there’s never anything going on. I walked off the T and there was a fire truck going by and like eight police cars and a bunch of people yelling and a festival going on in the Common… it was so hectic.”

Fortunately, Emerson charmed Talia to the point where she completely forgot about the overwhelming city noise from earlier. She fell in love with the school when she toured and soon found herself entering Emerson for her freshman year of college.

Talia stumbled upon Her Campus in a similar manner to how she found Emerson. The college hosts an alternative organization fair for unrecognized clubs- the status Her Campus currently holds at Emerson. She accompanied a friend to this fair and became acquainted with former Campus Correspondent, Jamie. An ardent student of book publishing, Talia never imagined she’d write for an online magazine, and initially shared the same skepticism towards writing for Her Campus as she did when first setting sight on Emerson. Nevertheless, Jamie’s enthusiasm captivated Talia’s attention. She signed up as a writer for Emerson’s unofficial chapter, a status she maintained for the year before assuming the role of CC. And just like her experience touring Emerson, she soon found her new home within this club.

“My team jokes that I eat, sleep, and breathe Her Campus,” she laughs. As Campus Correspondent at Emerson, she edits every article that goes live on HerCampus.com, maintains communication between Nationals and the Emerson chapter, participates in the sister chapter program with Northeastern’s chapter, continuously works with E-Board to obtain full club status for Her Campus at Emerson, and when she has the time, writes an article or two (she loves recapping the latest Grey’s Anatomy drama!).

The role of Campus Correspondent has been rewarding for a multitude of reasons. Talia remarked that her delegation skills significantly improved once she grew comfortable within her position. Her hefty responsibilities as a leader require her to entrust her team (consisting of roughly 35 writers and marketers) with their own duties to keep the club alive and prosperous. She loves working one on one with team members, and feels particularly proud knowing her writers improved their skills through her behind-the-scenes support.

Her Campus became a gateway to cement connections within the greater Emerson community. Talia notes that the magazine attracts students from across all majors, a remarkable phenomenon given the fact that Emerson students often tailor their club activities to their major. This amalgamation of students brings a fresh pool of talent and friendship to the Emerson Her Campus chapter. Writers and marketers find common ground at Her Campus despite their differing fields of study. They can also utilize the magazine as a platform for self-expression and the showcasing of individual skill-sets. It is worth noting that the lack of official club status only serves to further both Talia’s and the team’s dedication to the flourishment of their club.

Talia has taken the knowledge accumulated through her time as Campus Correspondent, as well as her academics (she’s yet to find a class that doesn’t have valuable real-world application), and channeled them into an internship with the Her Campus National Team.

“The work environment there is absolutely incredible. Everyone is so nice and it’s so community driven… I never went there and felt like an intern. I felt like I was working there and having fun. There’s also always dogs in the office which is great and everybody is there because they want to be there doing the work that they’re doing.”

As a national intern, Talia took on the role of chapter advisor. She works closely with nine schools (one as far as the Carolinas) to learn the ins and outs of each chapter, imparting her CC wisdom and guidance when necessary. Talia has gained vital insight into the logistics and general operations of each school, and applies what she learns to improve Her Campus within Emerson. Her role has thus gifted Talia a support system that transcends university and state borders.

Additionally, Talia’s national intern responsibilities include highlighting job board posts, writing for Her Campus’ national newsletter, identifying content ideas, and sourcing out new schools to establish fresh chapters of Her Campus. Talia finds herself advising professors on how to start new chapters and help them grow. She garnered both experience and empowerment from this work, sharpened undiscovered skills, and above all, had fun doing it. 

Talia’s current mission as Campus Correspondent is the achievement of full club recognition for Her Campus at Emerson. She believes “a lot of Emerson students have a strong voice. They just need a medium to tell their story and put their fight into words for people to read and understand.” And people will listen. Talia proudly reveals that over 15,000 people come to the Emerson Her Campus site to read the writers’ articles.

But achieving the status of an Emerson club is difficult, not to mention an inordinate amount of work. Emerson is a small college with a tight budget, so wedging your club into an already demanding marketplace costs an arm and a leg. During her time as CC, Talia and her team have established a constitution, bylaws, and a mission statement in an attempt to raise the Her Campus flag at Emerson’ official organization fair.

Talia underwent the rigorous application process to establish Her Campus as an official Emerson club once, and despite defeat, plans to tackle this challenge again in the fall semester. Conversely, Emerson’s Student Engagement Team, composed of dedicated and earnest faculty, has worked tirelessly with Talia and the rest of the Emerson Her Campus crew to promote Her Campus at Emerson. Their efforts have paid off. Talia revealed that when she first joined Her Campus, membership averaged 1 to 2 new students per term. After working with Student Engagement, the club added 15 new members at the start of the semester.

“The experience that I’ve gained from Her Campus has been astronomical. I can’t imagine my life without it,” she told me at the conclusion of the interview.

Talia’s dedication and love for Her Campus has undoubtedly fostered its growth and mission within Emerson, Boston, and the East Coast. Talia exemplifies the strong woman Her Campus strives to cultivate, and I have complete faith the magazine will continue to flourish under her leadership.

If you’d like more insight into Talia Santopadre, read her incredible articles! They can all be found on HerCampus.com. Some of her favorites include: “It’s Okay to Not be Okay,” “Which ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Character are you based on your Zodiac Sign,” and many, many more!

All Photos: Talia Santopadre

 

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