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To My Dearest HC Lovelies,

 

Wow. It really is the end of an era; an era filled with laughter, and stress, and lessons, and a whole lot of love. Just a week into my freshman year, I walked through the Student Org Fair with wide eyes and an open heart, trying to find a place that felt like home. A girl approached me with Starburst in hand and began to tell me about an online women’s magazine called Her Campus, and the rest is (almost) history. I truly had no idea how much this one organization would come to shape my college experience and the person I am today, at the end of this four year journey. And, through everything it was all of you, the women with me along the way, that made this experience what it is for me.

 

Even as an anxious freshman, I felt at home in Her Campus. After one of the first meetings, I walked back to the Lakeshore dorms in the pouring rain with a girl I had just met because we couldn’t figure out the bus system (on brand, I know). As someone who had always found a home in words written on a page, or a screen for that matter, Her Campus quickly found its way into my heart. My first articles were nothing too serious, although I still stand by my selections for what dog each major is. When it came down to it, Her Campus gave me an escape during the stress of freshman year, a place I could pour whatever thoughts I had onto a page and feel heard. By the end of the school year, our president was reaching out to me asking if I had filled out an application to co-lead the club with her the following year. I hadn’t, and without a push from her, I wouldn’t have applied (thanks Hannah, you’re a real one!). 



That summer really cemented this club, and all of its members, in my life. I flew to New York City for the national Her Conference event and had a weekend that can only be called iconic. I was surrounded by empowered, fun, lively women dedicated to pursuing their authentic selves. We attended career seminars, explored the city, and ate gelato in a rainy Times Square. I barely knew most of the girls before we flew out, but by the end felt like I had made some lifelong friends. I still look at that weekend as one of my favorite college experiences.

 

When I took over as a co-president my sophomore year, I really began to understand the magic of Her Campus Wisconsin. We were all different, with interests and majors spanning from Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (looking at you Bella) to Life Science Communications (Claire, keep killing it) to journalism (sending love to all my JSchool ladies) and Political Science/Comm Arts majors like myself (Katie, we got through it together). And yet, we came together unequivocally to support each other in these interests. In the three years I’ve had the privilege to lead this group, my respect, admiration, and appreciation for each girl in the family of Her Campus WI has only grown. I simply don’t have words for the level of support and empowerment you find in a group like this. We have running lists of book recommendations, of class advice, and a network of support that amazes me every year. I can’t think of another organization where we can cover every aspect of life in a team meeting and it genuinely feels like a conversation among friends. 


three silhouettes in orange sunset
Photo by Levi Guzman from Unsplash

This environment, and the unending support of all of you as team members, let me grow into myself as a college student and an adult. I got to explore my interests, write articles about everything under the sun, develop my leadership skills, and be myself day in and day out. And, after four years of this HC love, I’m happier, more confident, and more connected to my community. Throughout college, lots of things have changed; friends have come and gone, I’ve moved apartments every single year, I’ve explored different majors, but one thing has stayed the same. Through it all, I’ve had the amazing women of Her Campus Wisconsin to make me feel at home. For that, I will be forever grateful.

As my time with HCWI comes to an end, my heart is full. I am excited to see what Kate and Isa accomplish next year, confident they will learn from my own experiences (including Ally and my’s Friendsgiving Turkey Fiasco) and do an incredible job. I can’t wait to see what amazing articles these women write, what innovative ways they find to connect with one another. But I am also sad to be leaving behind a club that has given me so much. As I graduate, I know that while my time with the club ends, these friendships I have made will continue. I know that I have not lost touch with the members who graduated in past years (Ken, your bookstagram page gives me so much joy), nor do I plan on saying goodbye so soon to the current members. But most of all, I am incredibly thankful that, so early in my college experience, I found a place that felt like home. So thank you, to each and every member of HCWI over the past four years, for playing a role in my college experience and making me into who I am today. Remember to keep trusting yourselves and supporting each other every day. As we always say, support your local girl gang. You all are genuine, inspirational, empowering women who will never stop making me laugh, making me think, and making me feel at home.

 

HCXO,

Erin

 

Erin Kleber

Wisconsin '21

Erin is majoring in Political Science and Communication Arts, with a certificate in Criminal Justice. She is a proud co-president of HC Wisconsin, and has been a member since her freshman year. When she's not writing or spending time with her HC gang, you can find her reading a good book, spending time up north, or cheering on the Badger football team. 
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