With so many Gator girls graduating this weekend, Her Campus UFL decided to do something different for this week’s Campus Celebrity column. You see, as you lose good friends to great jobs and grad school, we are losing one of the young women who helped our school’s Her Campus chapter become what it is today. Let this column serve as a tribute to her moving on to bigger and better things and leaving behind her Her Campus legacy.
As an aspiring journalist, Allison Banko came to UF eager to get involved. She started writing for the Avenue, the entertainment section of the Independent Florida Alligator. But she always wanted more.
Banko said she was told the sports department could use a hand. She said she played sports in high school and genuinely enjoyed watching them, so she gave it a shot.
“It was kind of a neat way to segue into Gators sports as a freshman,” Banko said. “It made me stay in the loop with a lot of really cool things going on.”
Soon, her entire career path veered into the sports realm. Banko said the opportunities she had to meet elite players and coaches as an Alligator writer and later as a scout for FightinGators.com, a FOX affiliate, provided her with a unique college experience.
But as she readies her cap and gown for her graduation this spring, Banko reflected on other things she was involved in: writing for Orange and Blue magazine, being a Delta Zeta sister, and helping start UF’s Her Campus chapter.
Banko said she owes her experience with Her Campus to Victoria Phillips, a classmate whom Banko said brought her on board when Phillips first considered starting a UF chapter.
“What really drew me to Her Campus was it was for our age group, by our age group,” Banko said. “It’s like you’re talking to your friends.”
As the chapter grew, so did Banko’s involvement. She attracted more girls to the site, which meant more writers and more viewers. Steadily, the chapter became a university community.
“I want to say how proud I am about what Her Campus is now,” Banko said. “I think that it’s really taken off, and I’m so proud of the girls that made it what it is.”
As Banko enjoys her last few weeks at UF before being handed her diploma, she shared advice for the young women who will start college later this year.
“Don’t be afraid to take a risk,” she said. “Whether it’s good or bad, it’s gonna make you a better person. You have so much to grow while you’re at UF, and you should take advantage of it.”
As for her college career ending, Banko said the Gator Nation would always stay with her.
“I don’t really think you find that camaraderie anywhere else,” she said.