By Emma Reilly
Elm Staff Writer
At Washington College, the liberal arts take the spotlight. The College’s wide variety of student publications embody this focus. At WC, students are provided with numerous opportunities to read and share creative, academic, and journalistic works that engage with the foundations of a liberal arts education.
WC’s student publications — The Elm, Collegian, Washington College Review, and Aperion — inform and inspire WC students in a way that is unique to other campus functions.
“When students write, their peers will want to read what they have to say,” author and teacher Chris Weber said. “Published student authors and artists inspire others to write [in a] powerful and telling way.”
Students are more likely to connect with work produced by fellow students. WC’s student publications provide for this connection. These publications likewise provide a means for students to better understand their peers’ perspectives and academic interests.
According to Editor-in-Chief of Washington College Review Erica Quinones, her involvement with student publications has allowed her to see new parallels between her own work and that of her peers.
“[Editing for WCR] really helps me reorient how I see WC, how I’m seeing student writing, and how I’m seeing my own writing,” Quinones said. “It helps me see writing on a more global level … I can see how students are digging into similar topics from different angles.”
Student publications also encourage student contributors to take pride in their work. They offer the space and means for work to be reviewed and shared with a broader audience in a way that mimics the workings of the wider academic world.
“On the contributor side I see it as a very empowering moment,” Quinones said.
Collegian, Washington College Review, and Aperion publish student works that range from creative and artistic to academic. Students who read these publications are able to interact with material that showcases the multi-faceted nature of liberal arts learning.
“[Student publications] create this beautiful multi-tonal voice … which really defines the liberal arts at WC,” Quinones said.
These publications also recognize diverse academic pathways.
By providing students with insight into the many ways their peers are assimilating their learning into their work, WC’s student publications emphasize that there are multiple paths to success in any academic field.
Meanwhile, journalistic publications — such as WC’s student newspaper The Elm — provide students with connections to the issues that affect their campus.
“Student journalism and student outlets …are so vital and important because we do serve a community purpose,” Editor-in-Chief of the CU Independent Robert Tann said. Tann was quoted by Inside Higher Ed’s Greta Anderson in a piece on student journalism.
This so-called “community purpose” is exuded by WC’s The Elm. Student journalists for The Elm report on topics relevant to the student body, to Chestertown, and to the nation or world as a whole.
By connecting these various groups through their coverage of relevant topics, student reporters help nurture the sense of community on campus.
“Students of all backgrounds have the need to feel connected to their education,” Weber said. “This connection begins by bridging the gap between the school and the community in which students most identify themselves.”
The Elm’s coverage of the College and of Chestertown also allows its readers to gain a more well-rounded understanding of WC’s campus culture.
Cultural literacy on campus is an important aspect of college life that impacts both students and the college as a whole.
According to Inside Higher Ed’s David Rosowsky and Kimberly Hallman, “Culture is the glue that binds organizations together. And colleges and universities, like any other brand, need to communicate culture to effectively articulate who they are, what they offer and why it matters in a rapidly changing global environment.”
Student publications consolidate the pillars of campus culture at WC by emphasizing community impact, peer collaboration, and creativity.
Reading these publications keeps students informed about the goings-on on campus. Even more importantly, student publications encourage readers to continue contemplating the values the College is built on.
According to Rosowsky and Hallman, campus culture has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shifts in college operations have impacted connections between students, the campus, and the wider community. Student publications have been a valuable source of consistencyand communication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether in person or online, colleges and universities are safe spaces for self-exploration and self-expression,” Rosowsky and Hallman said.
WC’s student publications continue to promote these values at the College in a way that positively influences students and their connection to their campus community and culture.
Featured Photo captions: The WC Publications House contains offices for Collegian and The Elm. Photo by Mark Cooley.