Name: Stephanie Goebel
Hometown: Lake Forest, IL
Major: Political Science
Graduation Year: 2019
Q: You have been chosen to be the first profile in a new series for our Her Campus chapter. The plan is to interview involved women on campus and create profiles based on nominations from the previous profile. You are the first interview for this series: tell us what you are involved in!
A: A majority of my time is spent with the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). I am involved with senate leadership where I am the parliamentarian of the student senate. I sit on two committees: External Affairs and Student Development. In external affairs, we deal with the government relations. This includes town, state, and national government when it applies to us as well as general relations with outside committees. Student development is the social justice arm of USG, in addition to being a great resource for building spirit and tradition at UConn. Last year we put on the Founder’s Day event on Fairfield way! I am a member of Gamma Phi Beta where I served as parliamentarian of my sorority. I also just finished my term as the Junior Panhellenic Council’s president. I am a member of the College Democrats where I am running for secretary, UConn Pre-Law Society, and I used to tutor with the UConn Nathan Hale Homework Club. In the Nathan Hale Homework Club, we tutored kids in nearby middle schools who were struggling. This club is close to my heart because it had a large number of students who had issues at home. I come from a divorced family so being able to understand and help students struggling to balance school as well as living a life where the home situation is not as stable.
Q: You are involved with a large range of organizations. Why did you pick the ones you did?
A: I knew right away I wanted to join the Undergraduate Student Government. I think that it is important to understand how our own government works, and USG is modeled after our government which is interesting in itself. USG also has the greatest resources to create change on campus. Many organizations have great ideas, but the undergraduate student government has the resources to do so. I chose to be a part of student development because I am huge into social justice. Women right’s issues, race relations, and mental health are areas I am interested in. As important as the social justice side is, we also care greatly for student development. We care about things that will directly impact students. For example, we are planning to have a women and career panel and a mental health awareness program next semester. I chose to be a part of the Junior Panhellenic Council and Gamma Phi Beta because I wanted to gain leadership experience within the Panhellenic community. The Panhellenic community has evolved so much over the decades- sorority women have created their own professional networks and lasting friendships through these organizations. It is important to celebrate the Panhellenic community overall as well as within each specific organization. Sorority life models the idea that we have to be close to other women to accomplish our goals. I firmly believe that feminism doesn’t work until women stop tearing down one another. We have to build each other up before we ask for allies in men to do the same. I fell in love with Gamma Phi Beta on Philanthropy Day of recruitment. Our philanthropy organization, Girls on the Run, does so much to facilitate active and healthy lifestyles for young girls. They put on 5k races and hold leadership classes to help girls with their physical and mental health. I am also a member of political organizations because I am a Democrat. This summer, I worked on Paul Clements’ congressional campaign in the Michigan 6th District. I was the highest fundraising intern and I think that grassroots movements are great because through putting ideas out there, they contribute to public debate.
Q: What is the most enjoyable part of being so involved for you?
A: I think to be an informed member of a democracy, it is important to know what is going on within your community. Being involved with so many different areas of UConn has allowed me to have a full and clear understanding of what goes on. I think that if you decide to close your mind to whatever is happening within your major or organization, you lose out on a full college experience. When you are involved in a variety of activities, it pushes you outside of your comfort zone.
Q: Being so involved can pose a challenge for anyone: What do you do to maintain the student-work balance?
A: I think that time management is extremely important for the balance. I have a color coded Google calendar that I use to keep my commitments in check. (SV: She jokes that her friends say if they don’t make the calendar, they probably won’t see her.) I make sure to schedule in every dinner, meeting, and commitment I have. I also cut myself slack when things don’t pan out the way I want them to. I think that sometimes, things work out for the best that way. I ran for a position in USG last year and didn’t get it, but was able to sit on the senate leadership this year. I worked closely with the speaker of the senate, who I look up to as a mentor and friend. I also make sure to make time to prioritize myself. Although I don’t do it often, everyone needs the time to binge-watch Netflix or take a weekend to themselves.
Q: You interact with so many people within your communities. Who inspires you?
A: I am inspired by all of the people who I work with in the organizations I’m involved with. The Panhellenic and Gamma Phi Beta communities offer a huge support system. Through the Undergraduate Student Government, I have watched people take on projects of all sizes that really make a difference. These organizations push me to be my best because everyone else in them is doing well. I believe that you are only as strong as your weakest link, and I allow this to motivate and push me. My dad and I are also really close. He always inspires me to be the best I can be. We don’t always agree on everything, but whatever I put my mind to he firmly believes I can do. This support has been great and inspiring to me. My stepmom also is incredible. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to be there if I need something. She also knows the stuff I didn’t even know I needed! She is a great part of my life and I love having an extra person cheering me on. I find the support of others most inspiring. I don’t want to be someone else, I want to be my own person. The support I find from others is what allows me to be my own person.
Q: When you do find time for yourself, what do you do to destress?
A: When I find time to relax I love finding new bands, running, and spending time with my friends. Finding new bands that no one has heard of (SV: She suggests Saint Motel and MisterWives) is relaxing and enjoyable to me. With running, I think that it is important to find something that makes you breathe hard, keeps you active, and clears your head. I love my friends- they are my home away from home and my family.
Q: You have adjusted to UConn extremely well- what advice do you have for someone looking to get more involved on campus?
A: I came from out of state. It is so important to get involved because you meet more people and make your experience your own. I am proud to say that I have owned my experience and made it for myself. Being out of state was a challenge, and the biggest advice I can give is to just go! It can be terrifying to walk into a room full of people you don’t know. You have to find the thing that you are passionate about, and go for it! Organizations are always looking for people who want to get involved. So many people have great ideas but no desire to execute them- you have to want to get the ball rolling. If you are passionate, find those organizations, be there, and do the work necessary to see your goals accomplished.
Q: As the first profile for the series, you have nominated Haddiyyah Ali. What makes Haddiyyah stand out to you as an involved woman on campus?
A: When I think social justice warrior, I think of Haddiyyah. Haddiyyah Ali stands up for what she believes in and does not back down. I think that Haddiyyah does so much in relation to feminism in every capacity- she is who I imagine when I think of an empowered strong woman. Haddiyyah Ali is also incredible at building others up. She has always encouraged me and supported every impulse and idea. Haddiyyah is one of those “can-do” people. She thinks of things that I never would’ve thought of and brings important conversations to the table. I saw this first hand last year when we wrote a position about the UConn foundation. Haddiyyah Ali is full of great ideas and means to execute them, and I am proud to know her and call her a friend.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Goebel