A Letter to My Her Campus Chapter

Dear Her Campus at Cal Lutheran,

As I sit here in Starbucks on my very last day of class ever, my heart is full.

Over the last 4 years, I have watched you grow.

I remember the day that I first heard about the possibility of you, the possibility to bring a Her Campus chapter to the campus of California Lutheran University. I was sitting in my dorm room in Thompson, a first semester Freshman, and I turned to my roommate Victoria. I showed her the email I had received from Her Campus Nationals reaching out to me personally and asking if I was interested in starting this chapter. I showed her the colorful pictures of smiling Her Campus girls at some of the 300+ chapters around the world. I told her about the online magazine, the event planning, the writing, the leading, the sisterhood.

We ran out into the living room and told my other roommates, Emily and Nikki, about this idea. They loved it, and they supported me every step of the way. Thank you Tori, Emily, and Nikki for believing in this crazy idea from the beginning.

After a round of interviews with Her Campus Nationals, an application, writing test, and editing test  - we were approved to start the process. I posted a simple introduction about this potential chapter in the CLU Class of 2018 Facebook group, asking if anyone was interested. From there I found our first two Vice Presidents: Andrea and DeeDee. We met up in Starbucks for the first time, the same place where I'm writing this final article, and brainstormed for the future of this baby chapter.A few weeks later I presented the idea for you in front of the ASCLUG Senate, complete with a pretty PowerPoint presentation, and got it approved. This whole process took a few months - and this chapter was launched on March 17th, 2015.

The rest is a blur.

A blur of stress, excitement, anticipation, organization, re-organization, ideas, tears, joy, decisions, and growth. So much growth.

The first semester we consisted of 12 girls - meeting in the Mount Clef Study Room because I didn't know how to book an official room yet.

The second semester we recruited like crazy, and had our first official recruitment season. This recruitment season, complete with an interest meeting and recruitment event, quickly became a tradition. We grew to 50 girls. Then 80. Then 120.We separated this chapter across 4 teams, then 6 teams, then 8 teams. Writing, editing, event planning, social media, publicity, spirit, photography, and executive. I quickly learned that I love organization.

Anytime a member came forward with an idea, we listened with open minds and open hearts, and worked to discover a way to fit their passion into this chapter.My dad and I built a giant PVC pipe photobooth frame in our garage for the Homecoming Carnival - the first of many photobooth partnerships with ASCLUG and other clubs on campus.We launched our cornerstone event: the International Women's Day Celebration, where we partnered with tons of organizations and offices around campus to celebrate women across the world.

I moved into a dorm with two of our Vice Presidents (Victoria and Andrea) and our Treasurer (Bri) and we made Grace 14306 into the "Her Campus Executive Suite" where we held meetings, proudly decorated our dorm with an incredible amount of Her Campus décor, and used our room as an HQ if any of our members needed something.One year, Her Campus Nationals hosted their annual College Fashion Week event and came to Los Angeles. They did a model search for college students in the LA area, out of the 10 models in the show 8 of them were Cal Lutheran girls. That night was amazing, getting special makeover treatment, meeting the Her Campus Nationals women, and walking the runway while our entire chapter screamed and cheered us on among the 500 attendees. The night was one of the most powerful and inspiring experiences of my college career.We formed a Big/Little system, we created monthly photography challenges, we worked to write partnership articles to advertise events on campus, we became well known by the University, we interviewed celebrities of our favorite TV shows on red carpets, we handed out cupcakes on our chapter's birthday, we honored our graduating seniors, we were awarded the university's Outstanding Student Organization award, we threw annual Welcome Banquets, and we grew together as a chapterEvery single experience involving this chapter has been priceless.

Every single experience has shaped my college experience.My time after classes were spent rushing to meetings which I often led, on the weekends I hosted events, in my free time I created more organizational documents and checked in with our team directors to make sure everything was running smoothly. I quickly got any fear of public speaking with my regular impromptu speeches in front of our large chapter.

This chapter, you evolved from a small group of writers to a crazy, complex, system with tons of moving parts. 12 Executive Cabinet members who were all insanely dedicated, helpful, and passionate about the success of our sisterhood.

The fact that this chapter is continuing strongly after I graduate is mind blowing. The new Presidents, Simone and Fran, are amazing and passionate and loving women who I have no doubt in my mind are going to help Her Campus at Cal Lutheran excel even farther. I hope that Her Campus at Cal Lutheran continues to be a sisterhood and a home for Cal Lutheran Regals who can't find where they belong, like me 4 years ago.

Now, on the last day of my Senior year, I say goodbye.

This chapter has given me everything I ever needed from my college experience.

When I started this chapter, I was lost. I was lonely. I was tired. I was depressed. I was in an unhealthy relationship. I was isolating myself. I was not allowing myself to enjoy my college experience.

Throughout my time at CLU, this chapter has changed me. It has given me a reason to get up in the morning, something to focus my energy into, and something powerful and important that I was actually good at.

Over the last 4 years this chapter has helped me transform into a confident, happy, energized woman with a strong support system, a solid resume, and great leadership skills.

I can't put into words exactly everything this chapter has done for me.

If you're reading this and you're considering joining a Her Campus chapter somewhere in the world, I hope this gives you an idea of the incredible things that Her Campus can do for you.

If you're reading this and you are a Her Campus at Cal Lutheran girl, past, present, or future: Thank you. Thank you for changing my life and forming my college experience.

HCxo,

Dani

The original Her Campus Chapter - Fall 2015