A Call to Write: Raise Your Voice, Make a Difference on WC Campus

The following is just a handful of changes we’ve seen this semester: Commuter parking regulations; a web-only yearbook; SGA club volunteer requirements; a late-night café; separating alumni and commencement weekend; weekend bus trips; a renovated library; a new system for auditing club budgets; an updated school website; a higher minimum Dean’s list GPA; and, to top it all off, a new beach volleyball court.

And with any change comes opposition, especially on a college campus. In fact, in that long list of changes, there’s probably at least one that you disagree with. You’ve probably heard some of these subjects argued or ranted about at the dining hall, especially those that impact the wider Washington College community like club volunteerism and the new “Pegasus.”

As per any tiny liberal arts college, debate isn’t only expected, but it’s encouraged. It’s encouraging to hear students discuss policy changes on their way to class, even when it’s more cursing than educated debate. There are dining hall conversations about the navigation of the new website, whether the volleyball court was a valid use of funding, how new SGA volunteer requirements are redefining student clubs, and how to improve housing selection. Clearly, these aren’t just articles you skim in The Elm every week; these decisions affect the way we work and live on campus.

It’s gratifying to hear conversation about the direction in which the college is moving, but there’s a jarring and seemingly obvious fact that undermines these verbal debates: Simply complaining about issues won’t change anything. We saw this example time and again during the election season with students arguing over political issues but neglecting to actually vote.
We may not have voter registration forms or news stations featuring notable election tweets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t raise your voice on a small college campus. In fact, with such a small student population, one person’s opinion can make a giant movement.

Luckily, there’s a free, widely read forum for expressing these ideas circulating around campus on a weekly basis, and yes, you’re reading it right now. The Elm isn’t just a way to catch up on what Public Citations were issued last weekend or to see if you were quoted in a profile on your favorite professor. As stated in our mission statement, the staff is dedicated to not only “upholding ethical journalistic principles” and “enhancing skills as writers and editors,” but also “uniting the Washington College community and serving as a voice for the student body.”

People do read The Elm. Professors, staff, administration, the SGA, even the Board of Visitors and Governors has access to our reportage on campus events and fashion columns, and, often more importantly, student opinion.

On the next page there is a catchy and informative house ad. It isn’t there to take up empty space; it’s to remind you, the student body, that you do have a voice. Writing a letter to the editor is almost as easy as registering to vote. All it takes is 500 words, a few minutes of your time, and an opinion.

So to all of you readers who are bitter about the lack of commuter spaces or don’t like the new layout of the library: Don’t just bicker about it over your Friday morning copy of The Elm. Tell us, the entire student body and the administration. Tell us and make a difference.
Editorials represent the collective viewpoint of the entire Elm editorial board.

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