This semester, Charlotte Bax ’13 and Lauren Gill ’13 launched Her Campus Haverford, a branch of an online magazine for college-age women. Her Campus, which is written entirely by students, hosts colleges and universities across the country.
Bax got the idea to start the branch at Haverford from a friend who works on Her Campus Stanford.
“I thought it’d be something fun and different to do this semester,” said Bax, “So I asked Lauren, the journalism specialist, if she wanted to combine our interests and do it.”
While Her Campus does have a few guidelines, such as updating the site weekly, the content is left largely up to the students.
The website has seven sections covering topics from news to relationship advice to Her Campus’ trademark “Campus Celebrity” page. The site also includes weekly columns such as “Cut from the Ford” (a style article) and a blog titled “Overheard at Haverford,” consisting of humorous conversations overheard by students. Gill described the site as a mix of news, style, and fun articles, meant to be light-hearted, easy reads.
Although the site is generally aimed at a female audience, Bax and Gill emphasized that the goal of HC Haverford is to appeal to a wide audience. They say the site doesn’t often cover hard news stories, but serves more as an ideal study break.
“People want to read what’s on the website, because their friends are on it,” Bax said.
Despite the informal nature of their content, Bax and Gill want to include more news in their coverage. The two spoke of opportunities the site can provide opportunities for students interested in journalism. Her Campus as a whole has a wide national readership, hosting pages for over 190 campuses across the country. This week, an article from HC Haverford was featured on the front page, along with pieces from eight other campuses.
Bax and Gill believe that Her Campus gives student journalists a chance to display their work to a national audience, and can lead to contact with national media sources.
For example, Courtney Sackey ’14 wrote a piece on efforts by Bi-Co students to advocate for the reform of national policies affecting undocumented immigrants. Sackey’s article was featured on the front page of Her Campus. She was then contacted by USA Today.
Despite this success, the response to the site has been mixed.
“I was happy to contribute to Her Campus Haverford,” said Nathan Becker ’14, who was featured on the site as a ‘Campus Cutie.‘ “It’s nice to see an entertaining publication at Haverford where many people take themselves all too seriously.”
Others, however, have been more critical of material on the site.
“There was an article about what men think women should wear. It was fostering the idea that women should only wear what men want them to wear,” said Grace Klinges ’15. “I know the website should be taken with a grain of salt because it’s meant for fun, but some of the articles are still offensive.”
Bax and Gill are aware of the criticism they’ve received.
“They don’t find that we’ve been representing the women of Haverford the way they’d like them to be portrayed,” Gill said. She doesn’t see HC Haverford as restrictive in the way it represents women. “It’s just for fun. The content is by no means meant to degrade.”
They encourage critics to express their viewpoints by writing for the site.
Bax also argues that Her Campus Haverford does attempt to portray an accurate depiction of women in the community.
“We don’t want to be one-sided,” but, as Bax added, “We’re women of Haverford too.”