Hi, my name is Tatum Zeko. I’m the current president of Not On My Campus and I’m writing to you today to explain what NOMC means to me.
The easiest way I can describe NOMC’s impact on my life is that earlier today I was saving a group picture of the exec board on my laptop and rather than titling it “Exec” or “Not On My Campus”, I found myself typing in, “Family”. Yes, I know totally cheesy, but it truly is how I feel about this wonderful team that I get to work with. This isn’t just an advertisement to apply for exec in the fall (which I think everyone should do because our president-elect is AMAZING). This blog post is more of a love letter to my UT community and to the students in Not On My Campus who saved my life. As president, I have so many memories to share. I’ve served in many roles in this program. I started as an over-eager peer educator, then transitioned into president-elect, and finally president. I really don’t know what I’m going to do when my presidency ends in December. When I got the call that I was the next president-elect, I was cooking, so naturally when I hung up, I was so excited I accidentally put my hand down on a hot stove. Yeah, I know, definitely presidential material. But I didn’t join NOMC because I wanted something on my resume where I could climb the ladder and impress future employers. When the president of my sorority asked if anyone wanted to sign up to be a peer educator the summer after my freshman year, I remember thinking of a morning where I woke up to phone calls and texts because no one in my freshman pledge class knew where to get tested for getting drugged at a party the night before. That was barely a few weeks into my freshman year. I thought of all my friends that were affected by sexual assault. I remembered my fear of walking in the dark because one October morning I woke up to texts that a friend of mine had disappeared. We would later find out that she had been murdered in my home town. It was brutal and I felt hopeless even on good days, so I signed up. We all have countless reasons for joining, but for me, above everything else, I wanted to feel safe. I wanted my peers to feel safe. I wanted something good.
After our training in August, I felt so energized, my fingertips were buzzing. The program had that something that I was looking for. I didn’t know back then that I would become president. I was just so glad that there was a program out there that looked out for us, that cared whether we got home alright, that cared if we felt safe at parties, in our dorms, in our apartments, in the gym, walking to class, in our classrooms. This team of students knew the facts, and they wanted change as much as I did. This family goes far beyond our executive team. This family is for the whole longhorn community. I count myself as lucky because on days where I feel hopeless, I have ten teammates that I can call on to bring something good out of the day. This team works hard every day to makes this campus a safer place than it was the day before. I can’t give you one story of how beautiful this team is because they show it all day with every move they make. I get texts all day from different exec members about events they want to put on, things they want to teach people, and friends they want to help. I know when I walk across campus in the dark, I have a family that I can call so I feel safe. I hope everyone on campus gets to join a community that inspires them every day the way this team does. So to end my love letter, all I’ll say is thank you to everyone that wants to participate in this change. No matter how big or how small, the campus is better with you on it.