Last year proved to be a difficult one for this campus. To deny the Observer’s central role in this would be injudicious. While there are many lessons to be learned from the events that unfolded, one of the things it chiefly revealed to me was the power and responsibility we hold as a magazine.
This year at our retreat, we committed as a staff to centering marginalized voices, providing a platform for underreported and untold stories on campus, and trying our best to use this magazine as a vehicle for positive and necessary change. Our first theme is silence, and the work we intend to do comes with searching for the silences on campus. Who is heard? And who isn’t? What is the administration telling us? And what are they omitting? While these are questions we will be asking ourselves specifically for this issue, they are also questions that will be guiding us throughout the entire year.
We had over 20 seniors on staff graduate last year, and as we brought on new first-years and second-years to fill their roles, I couldn’t help but think of my own experiences as a first-year—going to every GIM imaginable, figuring out what clubs I wanted to join, trying to make sense of who I was and who I wanted to be. I wanted to be a part of the Observer because I was desperately searching for community on a campus where it can be hard to find, and I thought the O might fit. I didn’t know what a time commitment it would be, I didn’t know where the MAB Lab was, and I didn’t know I would be getting myself into the most meaningful, challenging, complicated, and beautiful community I’ve ever had the chance to be a part of. At the time, I had no understanding of how much of my learning in college would come from this bi-weekly publication. The O has taught me how to use InDesign and how to think through power. It has taught me the power of working together to create something, the strength of collaboration, and the importance of critical and compassionate critique. It has introduced me to some of the most dynamic and wonderful people I’ve ever known, and I still find myself in awe of the work our staff produces every two weeks. To lead it is the honor of my entire college career—and in truth, my life so far.
We ask you to read what we have written—and think. If you feel uncomfortable, sit with that. If you feel confused, talk to someone. If you feel mad, do something. If you feel moved, then we are doing our job. We hope, in our 123rd year, that this magazine pushes you and affirms you, challenges you and makes you feel seen. I don’t know what this year will bring for our campus, but I know the Observer will be a part of it.