Letter from the Editor: October 2016

Dear Her Campus Readers,

As Her Campus Minnesota begins its first full semester on campus, I have been thinking a lot about who we are and what we do, bringing me to a very important question: why Her Campus? What’s the value and significance in our presence on campus? In this letter, I hope to further explore and answer that question to the best of my ability, and do some serious reflection in the process.

According to our mission, the goal of Her Campus Minnesota is to, “cultivate a community of influential college women and launch careers for the next generation of journalists, marketers, advertisers, and women in media, all while offering women on campus a platform on which their voices can be heard and the opportunity to build valuable connections and relationships with one another.” For the purpose of this letter, I’d like to focus specifically on one aspect of the mission expressed above, which is to offer women on campus a platform on which their voices can be heard. To me, this is the answer to “Why Her Campus?,” because the voices of women on campus are valuable and powerful beyond measure. As Abeer Syedah said in an interview with Her Campus last week, “It’s ridiculous that by default and systemically, our voices are not given a platform because we, womyn, have an incredible amount of diversity among us and all our voices, at every intersection, make way for a fuller story and a bigger picture.”

The sole reason for which I started Her Campus Minnesota in April of this year was to offer a safe, supportive space in which students, specifically womyn and femmes, could be heard, sharing their stories in their own words. As the President and Editor-In-Chief of Her Campus Minnesota, I have seen our members grow immensely in their confidence, writing ability, interpersonal relationships, and critical thinking skills. But when I asked myself if that meant we were accomplishing our mission, the voice inside of me, the one who pushed me to start this organization, said very loudly, and very clearly, “No. No, we aren’t fulfilling our mission, because not all womyn on campus are being heard. Not all of their stories are being told.”

It’d be ignorant not to acknowledge the fact that Her Campus Minnesota is a group of predominately white, euro-centric ciswomen. Thus, almost all of our content is written from a point of enormous, undeniable privilege. In acknowledging this fact, Her Campus Members, myself included, have found ourselves asking: How can we do better? What perspectives aren’t being represented here, and why? And most importantly, moving forward, how will we combat this issue to create a space that’s more inclusive and representative of the University of Minnesota student body?

It would also be ignorant for me to say that I know all of the answers to those questions, because quite honestly, I don’t. We have, and will continue, to make efforts to connect with students and groups across campus, but I know that there’s so much more that we can do. So my question to all of you is, what can Her Campus Minnesota do to say that we are here, and we are listening?

For those of you who wish to share your thoughts in response to this article please do so here. If you wish to submit a freelance piece to Her Campus Minnesota, please share your work with us here. Thank you for reading, and thank you in advance for sharing your voice with us.

 

Lauren Wetzsteon

Founder, President, and Editor-In-Chief

Her Campus Minnesota