Over the past four years, Her Campus at GSU (HC GSU) has flourished into an amazing organization full of ambitious and talented young women. But we can’t forget our roots! HC GSU was charted on February 24, 2015, by Ashley Drayton. Drayton shares her experience of creating what is now a pink level chapter, Her Campus GSU.
Photography Courtesy of Ashley Drayton
HC: What led you to bring Her Campus to Georgia State?
AD: It started with me thinking about my career in journalism and figuring out exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be in the fashion industry and writing was second nature for me, but at GSU there wasn’t really anything on campus or in the city to get that type of experience. So, during one of my late-night creative hours, I was on Twitter and I ran across an article about Her Campus. I looked it up, went to the site, and immediately fell in love. It was pink, it was girly, and had all of the content that I would be interested in writing about but seeing that you could start your own magazine and chapter on your respective campus got me really excited. I told my friend, Chinelo, about it and she jumped right on board with me to do the application.
HC: What adversity did you face trying to establish the organization?
AD: Honestly, there wasn’t much we had to overcome. Everything flowed naturally and it got around campus quickly. However, I will say finding an advisor on campus to help us become an official organization took longer than expected. Luckily, I was close to one of my journalism professors and she signed on just for me because she loved the idea so much. The other struggle for me, personally, was being over a team as president for the first time and making sure everyone was doing their part. I’m the type of person to do everything myself because I want the results to be a certain way, but having Chinelo as co-founder with me was very helpful and I was able to delegate work easily.
HC: How did you feel when you overcame that challenge?
AD: Relieved! I overthink everything, but somehow, I always find a way to make something happen or God steps in just in time. My team–the “OG team” as I like to call them–was amazing as well. When Chinelo or I were busy handling other things, the executive board at the time held it together for us. The entire first year was so successful and I really believe it was because we had a team of women that were just as passionate about HC as we were.
HC: What were your goals for the chapter?
AD: I wanted other women who were interested in journalism, writing, blogging, public relations, marketing, and events to get that needed experience on campus before they graduated, as well as leaving some sort of memory at GSU that I could look back on and say, “I did that.” I also wanted the chapter to be one of the top tier chapters under the Her Campus umbrella and be successful overall so that it could continue to be a chapter on both sides
HC: What was your best experience with Her Campus GSU?
AD: I would say right after I graduated, finding out how the chapter did its first year. In HC, you get rewarded a chapter level (bronze being the lowest, silver, gold, platinum, and pink being the highest) depending on content, social media, events throughout the semester and how active the chapter stays. We were rewarded platinum level, the second highest level, with only being a chapter for two semesters. Seeing all the hard work we did during that first year and actually getting rewarded for it was a very proud moment for me, and I left with ease knowing the next generation would continue the work.
Photograph Courtesy of Ashley Drayton
HC: Looking at the chapter today, how do you feel?
AD: I’m very proud! Four years later and it’s still going strong. I’m so appreciative of the team and leadership of Cydney Rhines for bringing the chapter to a PINK LEVEL CHAPTER this past year. I still come back and support because HC will always have a piece of my heart, and I’m happy to see it still doing great on campus.
HC: How did Her Campus shape you?
AD: It was definitely the stepping stone I needed to guide me in the right direction as far as writing goes, but it shaped me into a leader that can work with anyone. Also, I’m naturally an introvert. Building the chapter, the team, creating content and putting it out into the world made me get out of my comfort zone. I still deal with a little bit of imposter syndrome about HC and anxiety with writing again, but everyone around me reminds me of what I did and what I’m capable of to pull me out of it.
HC: What did you gain from creating and leading this chapter?
AD: Leadership skills that I use in everything I do, real-world experience in something I love, and a group of women that I will forever be thankful for.