Copyright 2013 Trevor Umbinetti
On April 8, juniors Haley Jo Lewis and Coley Santiago launched a Seattle U chapter of Her Campus, a national publication which focuses on women’s collegiate experience.
“I just thought that this was a really good opportunity for the girls at Seattle U to take charge of campus; we define what it’s about,” Lewis said.
Santiago and Lewis wrote the first week’s content themselves, but hope to grow their team. They want to make it a space where anyone can get involved, open to everyone from marketing majors to art/graphic design majors on-campus. Lewis and Santiago hope to have three types of writers: weekly feature writers, monthly contributing writers and freelancers. All involvement will be on a volunteer basis.
Co-Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Seattle U Haley Jo Lewis is looking to give people on campus a space to express themselves, and to find information on events in the community. Lewis hopes Her Campus gives women of Seattle U an opportunity to take charge of campus in a way they haven’t been able to before.
The publication doesn’t currently have any male writers, but Lewis says they’re open to featuring writers of all genders. They want all of their content to pertain to women’s interests, but Lewis doesn’t believe that excludes men from their pool of potential writers or readers.
“What men and women are concerned with [isn’t] all that different when it boils down to going to college,” Lewis said.
In terms of content, Lewis wants to focus primarily on matters relevant to Seattle U.
Sophomore Hannah Tyne has already joined the team as a weekly writer, and agreed with Lewis that Seattle U’s Her Campus should remain locally-minded.
“A lot of [the national blog] is mostly just fashion and beauty and stuff, and I think it’d be cool with [the Seattle U chapter publication] to incorporate material that’s personal to the school and personal to Seattle,” said Tyne.
For Tyne, that would include topics like sexual assault and Earth Day, subjects that gain a lot of traction and discussion on campus.
Members of Seattle U’s Society of Feminists sees Her Campus as potentially being a good space for women on campus, in terms of making the campus safer and promoting the presence of women in
Society of Feminists members Akaila Ballard and Celina Enseñat said that Seattle U has more female than male students, and yet women are underrepresented in leadership positions on campus. They think Her Campus could be a great space for women to write about issues like sexual assault and safety at Seattle U.
“But in terms of ‘her’ as being female only, not all women identify as a ‘her,’ and not every ‘her’ is a woman,” Ballard noted.
Ballard and Enseñat stressed the importance of inclusivity and hoped that the publication doesn’t take an exclusively heteronormative view of femininity—which would mean content concerned with fashion, makeup and hairstyles, almost exclusively.
“That would be an unfortunate, unthoughtful way to go about creating spaces for women on campus, to make it for one type of woman, when they should be promoting the idea of every type of woman that we could possibly imagine,” Ballard said.
Still, they don’t consider the inclusion of men in the process to be a priority.
“I think people are afraid of exclusive spaces, especially at Seattle U, because it’s not inclusive. But sometimes, you know, I think the saying goes, ‘allies shouldn’t be infiltrating the spaces. They should be outside guarding the doors,’” Enseñat said. “It’s also up to men to help create a safe space on campus, but that doesn’t mean they have to come into our space to do that.”
The Society of Feminists has not yet spoken with the founders of Her Campus, but Ballard and Enseñat say they’d like to.
“We hope that we are an inclusive environment to all genders, sexual orientation, race, age,” Lewis said.
“[The national chapter is] very, very targeted toward a specific demographic of 18 to 22 year-old girls who identify with the gender they were born with, and I think this is an opportunity to kind of stretch that a little bit, and maybe writing articles that other people haven’t really written, targeted toward a wider variety of people [will make] it a little more diverse in that way,” Tyne said.
According to Lewis, Her Campus could present exciting opportunities for the school.
“There is so much untapped talent in the student body on campus and I feel like this is just a really good way to bring that talent online, which is where we are most of our days,” Lewis said. “I mean, you know all those articles like, ‘32 pictures of animals wrapped up like burritos?’ We just want some of that content to be about Seattle U.”