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I’ve been saying goodbye a lot lately.

I’ve already published my last column for The Beacon, ending a three and a half year career that saw me take on multiple roles including Editor-in-Chief.

I’ve said many goodbyes to members of my fraternity, Sigma Chi Beta, which I’ve been blessed to be a part of since Fall 2016, having been able to serve as a mentor for two strong young women and one brilliant young man.

I haven’t quite said goodbye to Spires yet, where I’ve served as a design editor for just as long as I’ve been in Sigma.

And now, Her Campus, it’s your turn.

What can I say about this college publication? Well, it sure ain’t a newspaper, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think a lot of people that go into the media often become too beholden to traditional means of publishing, and are often quick to dismiss publications like Her Campus because it’s not as altruistic as say, a newspaper. And to some extent, they’re right. Her Campus can be sensational, it can have little relevance to its local target audience, and it does have a questionable but common corporate culture around it, but that’s just where media is today.

Truth be told though, I never would have had the opportunity to coordinate sponsored content through The Beacon, or have the opportunity to work with new means of advertising like the Survival Kit program, and say what you will about Her Campus, for better or for worse, it is very representative of where new media is these days.

And as far as those negatives, all that I said about Her Campus can also be said of traditional media. Pick up a tabloid; Buzzfeed-esque content is nothing new. But like any publication, the worst examples of content in the field are not representative of the field as a whole; it is up to the publication editor to push back against bad content, to deliver quality content to their readers.

Her Campus is a different type of fish, and that was apparent to me even before I jolted the MCLA chapter to life from its Spring 2016 grave. It’s an online magazine with a focus on lifestyles writing with a feminist flare, that is also open to all sorts of all other content. By all means, a girly mag that is inclusive. It’s like The Odyssey, but less pretentious, and more successful. And it was something the campus needed, especially since The Odyssey closed down shop last year, and its staff writers needed a home.

Building Her Campus in the summer of 2017 wasn’t an impossible task – I built one other club before, and there was a lot of interested members that quickly whittled down to those who would actually commit. We had a small, but effective team the semester when I was the head honcho of this organization, many of whom I personally asked to join this team, including Cat Duhaime and Andrew Baillargeon from The Odyssey, Molly Mott from Spires, and Brigid Downey, who at the time had little experience writing articles, but had a lot of passion for what we were trying to do. Along the way, other people came into the mix, such as Alexander Stewart, who served as the Opinion section editor for most of last semester, and while we were tiny, we were tight, and we all got stuff done, and we even got some freshman, of whom Meghan DeMoranville was perhaps the most passionate, and it is for that new generation of writers that I now get to witness take over this little operation that make me glad that I started Her Campus back up in the first place.

We had our ups and downs. I cannot express how disappointed I am with the amount of people who decided that Her Campus is not right for them, but those that have stayed have put in hard work, and their hard work has paid off.

I transitioned Her Campus to Brigid and Cat at the beginning of this semester, and have witnessed it grow despite the challenges the semester has thrown at it, and through that struggle I have seen new faces prove themselves, specifically Tessa Langsdale and Kelsey Krzynowek, who now join Meghan as those who will lead Her Campus into Fall 2018 and beyond.

Her Campus was definitely a different sort of cat than I was expecting, but in many ways, it pleasantly surprised me. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that yes – it is possible to publish high quality content on this platform, and it’s content that is so different that it most certainly wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Want to read about someone’s first-person experience losing 60 pounds, written on the border of being a column and a features piece? Her Campus: MCLA has got you covered. Want to read about someone’s personal journey through freshman year, in which the story combines poetic devices with that of an opinion piece? We got that, too. Want to read someone’s compelling argument challenging traditional notions of beauty standards? Marked and checked. Or you could just read up on some life lessons from “One Tree Hill,” or read something about “Mean Girls.”

Senior year was one of expanding my horizons, and Her Campus allowed for me to do that. When I was Campus Correspondent, I was one of the few males (if not the only one) who served as the head of a chapter. I knew full well the types of content Her Campus was known for, and my focus as CC, and afterwards, Senior Editor, was always less on what you wrote so much as how you wrote it. And while I wasn’t always the peppiest, I am incredibly proud of everyone who joined Her Campus, especially those from whom Cat and I are handing it over to for next year. In a way, it’s been like watching your children grow up, if you had sassy, feminist-magazine writing children.

Her Campus is in excellent hands, and was in excellent hands this semester, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next. So long. Quoting “Hamilton,” I know next year’s staff is going to blow us all away. 

Mitchell Chapman is a young journalist looking to make a name for himself. He's been published in The Berkshire Eagle, Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and the Huffington Post and was the editor of his school's newspaper, The Beacon, after serving first as A & E Editor and then Managing Editor. He is a big science fiction fan, and is known for his quips on the blockbuster movie industry. He is a proud brother of the Sigma Chi Beta fraternity.
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