Within one semester of launching her online publication, Her Campus Cornell, Elizabeth Li ‘19 has watched the club thrive. She explained that Her Campus Cornell involves a collaboration of writing, marketing, and event planning teams focused on featuring relatable and trendy media content for its readers. The Cornell chapter is a subset of the international Her Campus organization. Li stated that Her Campus Cornell’s advantage is that “there is no publication on campus that parallels with the niche audience that Her Campus targets.” The magazine focuses on college-aged women at Cornell, emphasizing women’s topics, issues, and empowerment.
The idea for Her Campus Cornell was inspired by Li’s previous experience writing for Her Campus at Bates College. Upon transferring to Cornell, she noticed there wasn’t an active chapter; Cornell previously had a chapter, but it was discontinued several years ago. As a true entrepreneur, Li saw a valuable opportunity and took the initiative to revive the university’s chapter with strong determination and persistence.
During the fall semester, Li launched into action, registering the chapter with the university, writing a constitution and bylaws, and recruiting an executive board. Throughout the process, she worked with Dr. Lee Niederdeppe, the club’s faculty advisor and Li’s Communications Professor, who served as a valuable resource when dealing with structural and internal matters.
The process to recruit an executive board was “quite stressful, but ultimately extremely rewarding.” After receiving interest from many students, Li interviewed and selected the most qualified candidates, placing them into their corresponding roles based on past experiences, similar to how company founders form their own executive team with a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Technology Officer. Li is proud to have Julianna Schwindt ’20 (Editor), Kaitlin Steinleitner ‘19 (Events Coordinator), Molly Zhang ‘19 and Tori Pietsch ’19 (Social Media Coordinators), and Kamille Gomez ’19 (Marketing and Publicity) as part of the founding E-board.
Similarly to what many budding entrepreneurs face when entering the playing field, Li said the main challenge for Her Campus Cornell was gaining recognition. In the initial stages, the E-board needed to reach a quota of signatures to show enough support of the club to be approved by Her Campus national headquarters. After successfully establishing the Cornell Chapter, the next process was spreading the word. In terms of marketing Her Campus Cornell, the E-board “capitalized on peer and social media networks available and the many support resources offered through the Center of Student Life.”
Since Her Campus Cornell’s launch on January 31st, the E-board has maintained high hopes for their chapter. “Our main goal is to expand Her Campus Cornell’s presence on campus,” stated Li. “We hope to attract more students to join as writers as well as on our social media, marketing, and event planning teams. By virtue of expanding the club, we hope that we will be able to reach out to a larger audience at Cornell.”
Li spoke about how her favorite aspect of the organization is the freedom writers have to write about whatever they are most passionate about. “Every week, we post two types of articles: features and profiles. Feature articles includes both hard and soft news ranging from current events, lifestyle, and politics. Profile articles are typically interviews with interesting and accomplished people on campus involved in all aspects of school life. On the whole, the articles published are a mix of light-hearted but also serious topics, particularly surrounding issues pertaining to women at Cornell.” Recent articles include 6 Signs You Go To Cornell, On-Campus Dining: A Definitive Ranking, 5 Things I’ve Learned as a Transfer Student, and Prelim Season as Told by Gilmore Girls. Her Campus Cornell also plans on hosting events throughout the year to publicize their chapter with giveaways and get-togethers!
Within the previous semester, Her Campus Cornell also established impressive partnerships with institutions, including the major entertainment conglomerate, Universal Music Group. Her Campus Cornell will be working with Universal Music Group to launch a #SingleSunday music empowerment and promotion initiative, in which the club shares songs that have a powerful message. Universal Music Group is just one of the many companies, along with L’oreal, Garnier, Coca Cola, and Target, that Her Campus Cornell has the opportunity to work with due to the diverse Her Campus network. This spring, Her Campus Cornell has been working alongside its Chapter Advisor at Harvard to keep the chapter on track and has partnered with Her Campus Oswego to collaborate on giveaways and themed social media weeks.
So, what can students expect from Her Campus Cornell in the coming months? Li mentioned that readers should keep an eye out for new articles every week as well as social media giveaways for items from Juicy Couture, Eric Condren, Charlotte Tilbury Makeup, Freeman Beauty, and L’oreal Paris. Her Campus will also be hosting info sessions for interested members within the next few months. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.