Name: Natalia Gonzalez
Hometown: Miami, FL
Her Campus (HC): You’re the president of NOle MORE. Can you tell us about your organization?
Natalia Gonzalez (NG): We focus on power-based violence, sexual misconduct, the culture that promotes it, ways to combat it through bystander intervention and the fostering of healthy relationships, as well as encouraging a change in campus culture. Since it is only our second year on campus, we are trying to expand ourselves and really get our name out there. We want to start collaborating with other organizations with similar ideals, start volunteering at shelters like the Refuge House, and have guest speakers who are familiar with the subjects I mentioned and maybe even past survivors of relationship violence and these other types of misconduct.
HC: How did you first become involved in NOle MORE?
NG: I was a part of it last year and I really enjoyed the comfort level I felt during the meetings and from the members. I really liked the mission of this club as well and how they were informing us on these important topics we should know about, especially sexual violence and domestic violence, since it unfortunately is such a frequent issue in the world and across college campuses.
HC: What do you believe is necessary for preventing power-based violence?
NG: Raising awareness through respected figures and celebrities, the media, campaigns, and ads, enforcing stricter punishment laws, and having more resources to turn to. Unfortunately, it is not something that even with all the effort in the world will completely just go away. There will always be an abusive boyfriend, abusive girlfriend, abusive friend, abusive relative, and bad people in general, but a little less of this violence will at least show that there is an effort and progress.
HC: How can the average college student educate themselves about power-based violence and rape culture?
NG: The average college student can educate themselves about power-based violence and rape culture by joining clubs that tailor to that message, doing their own research on the internet and watching documentaries tailored towards about power-based violence and rape culture, not taking a part in power-based violence or raping anybody, reporting rapes and suspicious behavior and people (it takes a lot of confidence and strength to do it, but it can be done), getting themselves help if feel they fall under the category of someone who seems to act with power-based violence, and just overall being good outstanding citizens and staying true to their colleges creed and values will hopefully help prevent some of this negative behavior and actions.
HC: How do you balance the responsibilities of being president and being a student?
NG: Well, it definitely is tough at certain moments especially when exams come around, but my agenda and planning definitely help out. My agenda is the first thing I look at when preparing what I should do first so it definitely reminds me of everything and helps me prioritize. Waking up early is another thing, because I get much more done and I always feel more productive in the morning. And even though it sucks, limiting how much I go out helps me be more productive, since it helps me have a clearer head and focus more on school. My exec members are also to thank with helping me out with my duties. They give me great ideas and fill in for me when I can’t make it to specific events. I would be way, way in over my head if it weren’t for the two of them.
HC: Many people have called for only police departments, and not universities, to handle reports of violence and sexual violence. Do you support this movement?
NG: No, I disagree because if it is happening on the university’s campus, it is also the universities responsibility to do something about it. The police can solve the crimes and provide protection, but it is the universities responsibility to educate the students on prevention, awareness, and provide punishment and specific rules against these sorts of violence to show these are serious situations and that the school does not tolerate that sort of behavior. If students feel there is punishment for acting that way, I feel it would diminish that behavior because it is also affecting their academic career, which in the end can affect the rest of their lives and all the hard work they’ve put into all those previous years.
HC: Does NOle MORE have any upcoming events, meetings, or campaigns that you’re excited about?
NG: Currently, we’re working on setting up for our first meeting of the semester. When it happens, we will advertise a lot around campus to get as many people as we can to attend. They will probably be on Wednesdays. But this month is Domestic Violence awareness month, and we do have a few events going on. There will be an Elemental Workshop in HWC2500 from 5:30-7:30. This is a self-defense class hosted by Dr. Samuel Staley, but the class is limited to 12 students. This is the link for registering.
On October 27th there will be an event called chalkboard from 11-1 on Oglesby Union and Landis Green 11am-1pm where students will use the portable chalkboard to engage with the FSU community on the topic of Healthy Relationships.
On October 28th With Words Talk Back: Domestic Violence in Dunlap 2201 6pm-7pm. This event will honor the With Words room centered around domestic violence, and give the community a space to process and brainstorm ways to prevent domestic violence/relationship violence.
On October 29th there will be an Escalation Workshop in HWC 2500 5:00pm -6:30pm. This workshop originated at UVA after the passing of a student due to relationship violence. The student’s family started an organization called One Love that is endorsed by ACC. The workshop begins with a 40 minute video showing an abusive relationship that ultimately ends with death. The facilitator then processes the video and has a conversation around ways to change our culture. This workshop will be hosted by a representative from the One Love Foundation. If we are to adopt this program, students will be trained and the workshops will be peer facilitated. It will be capped at 30 students and the sign up is through this link.
HC: What would you cite as your proudest moment or greatest achievement as president of NOle MORE?
NG: Honestly as of yet I wouldn’t say I have made my greatest achievement as President, but come back to me in a few weeks and I’m sure I’ll have an answer for you then.
HC: What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
NG: If something is to stressful or makes you unhappy, try to fix it quick or let it go and not be too hard on yourself. It’s okay to change your major and know that just because your original goal and plans have changed, doesn’t mean your life is over and the future can’t be as great as you once imagined it being. It doesn’t mean you’re dumb or “didn’t prioritize well enough” or are “lazy” or simply “can’t do it,” sometimes in life things change and if you’re good at many things, why not go explore them and see if you can make a wonderful career out of it.
All images courtesy: Natalia Gonzalez