Samantha Wogensen: Girl on Fire

Name: Samantha Wogensen

Major: Psychology

Minor: Child Advocacy Studies and Women & Gender Sexuality Studies

Year: Senior

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

 

Meet Samantha Wogensen, a senior at Winona State University. You might see her on campus quite a bit due to the fact that she is very involved in campus life. She works hard to try and make a difference and make sure everyone feels safe and equal on our campus. Take a look at the different things that Samantha is involved in on campus and what she’s been up to!

Her Campus Winona (HC): What types of things are you involved in on campus?

Sam Wogensen (SW): I’m in the local sorority called Phi Theta Chi. What sets us apart is that we try to give back to Winona specifically. This year I’ve been helping out with community service as the co-chair of philanthropy, because we recently added sexual assault awareness as one of the causes we support. This year I also decided to join RE Initiative. Mike Krug is the Graduate Assistant and my inspiring boss. I know HerCampus just did a special on him too; he’s so positive and compassionate.

I’m also in Students United, which works closely with Student Senate to not only better our campus at WSU, but all seven Minnesota State Universities, which include Bemidji, Mankato, Metropolitan, Moorhead, St. Cloud, Southwest, and Winona. Three times a year, the Student United committee and Student Senators from each respective campus attend a delegates session to write and vote on motions to be implemented into legislation. The staff team helps us voice for the platform we decided on at advocacy day each year at the Minnesota State Capitol. I hold the issue specialist position this year, so I got to work on the campaigns: Get Out the Vote, sexual violence prevention, college affordability and retention. This year Winona State University registered the most students to vote among the four-year Minnesota State institutions and ended up winning the College Ballot Bowl. Students United tabled for weeks for the election in Fall 2016 and it paid off with the voter outcome. The sexual violence prevention campaign had a special place in my heart, because my friends and I have been affected by it. I got the opportunity to create and host events regarding the topic. Through everything I’ve been involved in in the past year, I’ve met people who are really making a difference on campus and will continue to do so once they leave college.

HC: Out of the things you are involved in, which do you feel you dedicate the most time to and why?

SW: That’s a hard question. Honestly, it depends on the week. Some weeks I have five sorority events and the next I have four Students United events. Every week I have 10 office hours with all the RE Initiative students to work on projects. I feel as though I’ve found a balance between the three and that’s why I’m able to stay involved with them.

 

HC: What is your favorite thing about Students United?

SW: My favorite thing is seeing students getting fired up over issues they are passionate about. I get to see many people find their voice and that is extremely empowering for me. I’ve also enjoyed meeting people from every campus and learning about their different experiences at school and throughout life.

HC: Is there anything you are working on right now?

SW: Yes! Students United and RE Initiative are co-sponsoring Take Back the Night at WSU which is Tuesday, April 18th. It’s an event that is put on every year to SpeakOut against gender-based violence and Break the Silence surrounding the issue. Phi Theta Chi also attends and sisters often share their experience. I’ve been working on a poster series campaign all semester to debunk rape myths with Students United and RE Initiative, so hopefully we will have that ready by the same night.

The philanthropy chair for my sorority and I have been working closely with many organizations on campus to create the Walk of Silence to End Violence this semester, which is April 23rd at 3 p.m. The idea behind this was to create a local "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" without having to pay for the brand and we also wanted to focus on raising money for the Women’s Resource Center in Winona. This summer I get the chance to be in a work study position with the RE Initiative and we’re planning a summit to release the education materials to other campuses in Minnesota. It’s helpful that I have connections with students and faculty through Students United, so the conversation to get them involved has already started.

 

HC: What do you see for the future of Students United?

SW: This year is the 50th Anniversary of Students United! I am so excited to be a part of this organization on such a special year. I applied to be Winona’s Campus Organizing Intern, so I’m hoping to get this position. This year we voted for our campaigns to be diversity and inclusion, student health and wellness specializing in gender-based violence prevention and mental health awareness, and affordability specializing in sustainability. I see Students United becoming an organization that puts many people from diverse backgrounds through school that otherwise would not get the chance.

HC: Any advice you have for people who are trying to get more involved?

SW: Don’t be afraid to reach out. If you feel passionate about something, advocate for it or try out a new club. Students have the voice to make an impact here at WSU.

 

Whether it’s a Sorority event or even something with Students United this girl is definitely on fire. Keep up the great work Sam; we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!