WU needs you

ReAnne Utemark

Often, finals week can make you reflective on your life, on academics and on the future. Of course, this might just be you staring at your feet because your brain will not function any more. Let’s assume the former and proceed.

This year at Washburn has been an interesting one. Things are happening on campus; there is an up-and-coming lecture series, the transformational experience is finding its legs for students, the library is seeing signs of life and many more developments that would take my entire column to list. Washburn academics is spreading, through national conferences and programs like Apeiron. Students are taking an interest in their campus and their community with the Topeka Visioning Project, but we still have a long way to go. We need to make sure this momentum continues and does not flounder in the face of difficulty or get lost in the hustle and shuffle of the everyday.

As I look upon the students that I and the other newspaper staff will be working with next year in student publications and our fellow Memorial Union office dwellers, I am excited about the opportunities possible with this group of talented students. I know there are other talented students roaming the campus of Washburn and I sincerely hope they take an active position on campus and make Washburn theirs. Indeed, that is what Washburn is – ours. It is what we make it. If we choose to make it a boring campus with listless professors and administration, then that is what it will be. However, I believe that if we show enthusiasm or just simply that we care, that administration and faculty will be supportive of the changes we want to make.

As for the newspaper, I have some lofty goals for us next year. The staff this year, even the ones who are no longer with us, helped maintain the momentum from last year’s Pacemaker award-winning year. I appreciate all of the hard work from the staff and wish the best of luck to those leaving to go off to bigger and better things, like graduate school or the real world – the two are very different things to my understanding.

The newspaper is the voice of students on campus and thus, I want to get more varied student voices in the newspaper. Washburn’s campus is incredibly diverse and it is important for us to include those voices in the paper. Student organizations are doing amazing things and I want to increase our field of coverage. We cannot be everywhere all the time on campus, so we are going to have to rely on students, staff and faculty to help keep us up-to-date on what is happening. I want to help our new online Web editor to make the Web site something that students can go to for updated information. I want the newspaper to be a similar resource, and improve the design and increase the quality of the content. Through great design, solid coverage and a little humor thrown in, I want to make this a paper students want to read.

It is my hope that the other student organizations on campus are devoted to making this next year a landmark one for Washburn. As Washburn continues the transition to a more campus-oriented student body, the next few years are going to be vitally important in attracting talented students to campus. We can ensure the legacy of our alma mater by being mature student leaders who advocate for their campus, their organization and fellow Ichabods, participate on their campus and leave a beneficial lasting impression. Of course, there will be some times when we cannot all get along. During those times, open dialogue and earnest problem solving should ensue, rather than anything petty or unhelpful.

To the graduating seniors, farewell. To my fellow Ichabods, have a good summer and come back refreshed and ready to take Washburn where it’s ready to go.