By MacKenzie Brady
I have no idea how to start this and looking back at the farewells from past Editors did not help. Not because I thought they were bad or wrong or anything like that, they were perfect, but they aren’t what I want to say.
I think the problem is I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to begin to thank The Elm for all of the opportunities it has provided me these last four years. I don’t know how to say goodbye.
I do know that walking into the Publications House on the first day of classes my freshman year, I could not have imagined writing this now. It was a dream to be the editor-in-chief, to run the student newspaper, to have the validation that I did know what I was doing. Surely those dreams you have when you’re 18 and new to college don’t come true.
But mine did, when in December 2017, former Editor-in-Chief Brooke Shultz ’18 interviewed me for the photography editor position for the spring semester and hired me on the spot. And it did again when former Editor-in-Chief Abby Wargo ’20 interviewed me for that same position going into my sophomore year. And then again when Abby interviewed me for the student life editor position going into my junior year.
“Student Life takes up a lot more of your time than Photo does,” Abby said during our interview. Boy was that an understatement.
I went from managing a staff of four photographers to writing an entire section by myself. Without the guidance and support of Abby — and my fellow editors offering to take an article every now and again — I don’t know what I would have done.
And then, my dream came true one last time, when I applied for the editor-in-chief position, and somehow got it. I was elated. I was horrified. I hoped that I could continue to guide The Elm during the COVID-19 pandemic without anything going horribly wrong.
I would like to think that nothing went horribly wrong.
We have not been in print all year, but we’ve continued publishing. Every issue, I am amazed at the work we are producing and am incredibly grateful to my staff for making it happen.
To Emma (Campbell), Emma (Russell), Liv, Jensyn, Mark, Nicole, Stephanie, Marianne, and Sarah: Thank you for all the work you’ve put in this year. Thank you for meeting deadlines when the world was literally falling apart. I cannot begin to express my gratitude that you all stuck it out with me all year.
Katy: The Elm would not have been possible without you this year, and I really mean that. Thank you for literally being our publisher, for keeping folks engaged on social media, and for so much more. I am so glad to have shared the Elm office with you for two years (and Zoom world for a third). Thank you so much for everything and good luck with what comes next, you’ll be great.
Victoria: Thank you for giving The Elm everything you did and could. It has been such a pleasure working alongside you these past two years. I am endlessly proud of all the things you do. I know you will continue to do great.
Dan: Thank you for all your guidance since stepping in as Elm advisor. Thank you for pushing me to keep going, encouraging me to ask questions and reach out to people, and being a huge supporter and defender of The Elm. You’ve helped my confidence grow tremendously, and for that I am forever thankful.
My former EICs, Brooke and Abby: Thank you for taking a risk with me. Your support and guidance have been everything.
Erica: I am so proud of you. Watching you grow these last three years has been incredible. Your fierce questioning and lines of inquiry are exactly what this place needs next year. Don’t back down. I cannot wait to see what you do next year and am always in your corner if you need me. You will do amazing things next year (and every year after that).
Finally, thank you to readers for sticking it out with us as well. It has been a weird year made only weirder, for me at least, without copies of The Elm magically materializing on campus. Thank you for reading even when we weren’t on every newsstand on campus. Thank you for seeking us out. Thank you for your support and engagement. I have done everything in my power to keep you all informed and to figure out what was happening on campus.
Accountability and transparency have been a huge issue in my four years here, and I’m sure those issues won’t disappear upon my graduating. I hope you all continue to find out what’s happening. Keep protesting, keep making and signing petitions, keep making your voices heard and opinions known. One of WC’s taglines is “We love this place,” so make sure it’s a place you love, and that your love is fully informed.
One of the reasons I loved this place — despite all the things it’s put me through — was because of The Elm. It’s hard to say goodbye to something that has been so integral to the last four years of my life, but there’s a lot of that going around right now, and I can’t wait to see where The Elm goes without me.
— MacKenzie Brady
Featured Photo caption: Outgoing Editor-in-Chief senior MacKenzie Brady departs The Elm after four years of involvement. Photo courtesy of Justin Nash.