Natalie Gutierrez | Staff Writer
FIU’s chapter of HerCampus is a magazine that merges pop culture and current socio-political realities.
Made up of over 400 chapters in United States universities alone, the magazine includes chapters in Canada, the United Kingdom and Nigeria.
President Priscilla Fernandez is a junior and English major. Her goal is to open a space for female college students and give them a creative outlet.
“We’re an online magazine that is centered around women’s voices. We’re here to create a community that celebrates every individual and their pieces. We are continuously writing and striving to build a connection with one another,” said Fernandez.
“I want to make sure we have a safe space to let our thoughts run freely.”
Interestingly, the organization often partners with beauty and clothing brands. Fernandez considers it a great promotional tool, as well as an opportunity to discuss issues that affect young women.
Last September, the organization collaborated with cosmetics brand Kiehl’s. At a tabling event, members gave away over 200 samples of the brand’s acne-clearing solution.
“Besides promoting the samples, we were also there to talk about our own beauty standards. Everyone gets acne and while we promoted the acne-clearing solution invisible pimple patch, we also talked about our insecurities,” said Fernandez.
“It was an opportunity to talk among ourselves and talk to other people. It was important when it came to building connections with other women and even men who happened to be there.”
Events director Melissabel Fleites is a junior and international business major. Though not originally from Miami, Fleites highlights the organization’s efforts to provide members with a sense of belonging.
“I’m from Tampa and I knew that coming to FIU would be challenging, but everyone was so welcoming and accepting. You can be who you are,” said Fleites.
Similar to Fernandez, Fleites feels that HerCampus stands out. While not strictly academic or social in nature, it underscores the universality of womanhood.
“I can confidently say that even after graduation, this is one of the experiences that I will cherish the most. Having a community of other women who are like-minded, whether we have the same majors or career paths, we’re all still girls in college,” said Fleites.
In March, HerCampus hosted “Sip and Paint Tote Bags” along with Planned Parenthood Generation Action.
Besides honoring Women’s History Month, the event encouraged self-expression and individuality through art.
Christine Santiago is a senior and political science major. Last fall, she decided to take her passion for writing and become a staff writer for the magazine.
“I remember in high school, I was terrified of writing. Now, in college, I write about entertainment, culture, and social issues like ADHD,” said Santiago.
More importantly, Santiago believes her membership has enabled her to branch out. Despite her anxieties, she has forged meaningful bonds and encourages other female students to do so.
“My whole life, I struggled with social anxiety and a fear of being judged. I remember looking for organizations and I thought HerCampus was interesting. Since then, I’ve felt welcomed. It is nice to know that you are not alone.”