By Emma Campbell
Web and Social Media Editor
I’ve sat down to write many an Elm article before — 52, to be exact — but there’s something particularly daunting about this blank screen. There are many ways to go about saying goodbye to something that’s meant a lot to you. For The Elm, a written farewell is obviously the most appropriate, but it is also deeply, painfully bittersweet.
Writing for The Elm has been my favorite way to make sense of recent times. As an opinion writer, I’ve leaned on this paper as an outlet for my frustration with the world, writing to give language to my occasional feelings of hopelessness and hurt.
I’ve written about everything from Kanye West’s public image to the dwindling honeybee population to the Jan. 6 insurrection to the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in Washington College Greek Life.
The Elm has allowed me to voice my opinions, asking only that I do so in a manner that is truthful and informed. When I’ve fallen short in these areas, The Elm gave me the space to learn and grow. I don’t think many people know how rare these spaces are for student journalists.
Through the accumulative interviews I’ve conducted, dozens of sources I’ve attributed, and many, many, many rounds of edits I’ve agonized over, my work for The Elm has opened my eyes to the collaborative powers of writing and editing.
My Elm colleagues, past and present, are whom I think of when I want to feel hopeful about the future. Their passion and work ethic astounds me, but I’m most impressed with the way their writing reflects these strengths. Because of these talented people, WC has one of the best student-run newspapers in the country: fact.
This is the part I’ve been most looking forward to writing: I’d like to thank the first opinion editor I wrote for, Theodore Mattheiss, for helping me get my feet wet.
Victoria Gill-Gomez, who edited my cobbled-together sophomore year op-eds with patience and encouragement.
Mackenzie Brady, who trusted me with the demanding role of opinion editor my junior year, and proceeded to offer me the most steadfast support through a challenging year.
Katy Shenk for her help in transitioning me from opinion to web editor and her general kindness.
Erica Quinones, Editor-in-Chief extraordinaire, who has captained the S.S. Elm with tremendous compassion and epic smarts.
Lastly, thank you to my fearless cohort of regular opinion writers — Emma Reilly, Megan Loock, Lexi Meola, Alaina Perdon, Liz Hay, and Kaitlin Dunn. I hope you all never stop trying to make the world a better place.
Now for the part I’ve been least looking forward to; because endings are hard to write and even harder to experience. Still, there’s a certain rightness about my exit; after all, my time is up, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Leaving WC is easier knowing The Elm will be here, celebrating student excellence, illuminating injustices both close to home and far away, and, most importantly, helping to shape the next generation of journalists.
My parting words may be trite, but that may come from just how true they are.
Journalism done well can foment lasting change, a truth that absolutely extends to student journalism. So, support The Elm in whatever way you can. You may be surprised by the good that comes out of it.
Photo Courtesy of Zairel Luna
Featured Photo Caption: Outgoing Web and Social Media Editor senior Emma Campbell departs The Elm after four years of involvement.