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Monday, May 20, 2024

A love letter to The Campus, from the executive team

To our memory

After an interest meeting almost four years ago, a Campus editor taped a list of potential new writers to the wall of our office in Hepburn basement. This list has been a reminder for me over the years — at the bottom is my name and email, followed by a brief description of how often I thought I would want to write in fall 2019: “Every other week maybe?”

The question mark is funny to me now — I can no longer remember a time when I had any doubts about contributing to the paper. My time at Middlebury has been defined by The Campus — by Tuesday nights spent editing until 2 a.m., by scrambling to finalize a breaking story on my phone in a Proc booth, by learning from some of the most hard-working, thoughtful and engaged people I have met at this college.

For me, the list on the wall has been a reminder that, in your first weeks at this school, you can’t possibly know what choices will define your time here. As much as you might believe you know yourself, you won’t be able to predict who you will be by the time you graduate and what communities will matter most to you.

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to say in my goodbye to this newspaper. I could tell you how proud I am to be a part of this team, which has adapted and grown throughout the onset of and difficult recovery from a global pandemic. I could tell you how much I believe in this newspaper and the power of student journalism, especially in times of conflict and change. I could tell you how much gratitude I feel for the editors who encouraged me and pushed me when I was a new writer — I hope I’ve been able to pay it forward.

But mostly, I have been thinking about impact (perhaps because of our Zeitgeist wrap-up question). I hope that my class is leaving the college a better, kinder place than we found it. And I hope that The Campus, by keeping our community informed and connected, has been and will continue to be a part of that. Thank you to all the editors who took a chance on me this year, especially Rain and Tony. Maggie, Ryan and Katie, I am excited to see what is in store for you next year and what new insights and enthusiasm you will bring to this paper and the Middlebury community.  

My little brother is matriculating here this fall. My advice to him is this: Say yes to things; explore; don’t assume you already know who you are or who you’re becoming. And write for The Campus. Just kidding — but who knows what could happen if you put your name and email down at an interest meeting this September. You might discover something you love.

Abigail Chang, Editor in Chief

To our year

The past week has been a series of lasts for me, and although the reality that I will pack up my dorm and graduate from Middlebury hasn’t fully sunk in yet, I’m already beginning to shed tears over what has filled me with so much joy over the past four years. The Campus isn’t just another extracurricular activity — I feel truly at home when I’m in the basement of Hepburn, despite all the strange noises that come from the pipe overhead or the piano-playing  in the upstairs lounge. 

I will never forget the first time that I cried at The Campus. I will never forget the first layout page I did for sports. I will never forget the first article I turned in. I will never forget all the friends that I made at The Campus. There is magic in creating something together: I’m truly  impressed with the level of commitment that the staff members have shown to this publication over the years. I know that no matter where I go or what I do, I will always value the integrity, perseverance and passion that I observed from my colleagues at this newspaper. In that spirit, I shall ramble a series of thank yous: 

Thank you to everyone who gave me the opportunity to serve in different capacities over the years: I cannot describe how much I’ve grown as a student journalist, editor, colleague and leader through my work at The Campus. Thank you for putting faith in someone whose English is not their first language. My obsession with English grammar as a child paid off more than a decade later in a basement in Vermont. 

Thank you Tony and Abbie. Over the past year, we’ve dealt with stressful situations and celebrated victories; we’ve become a tight-knit team, supporting and uplifting one another every step of the way. Thank you for your exceptional work ethic, creativity and quirkiness. It's been an incredible journey, and I couldn't have asked for better teammates. 

Lastly, to everyone who will remain part of this amazing community in the years to come: you’re lucky. Never take the time you have for granted: come to the editorial meeting, write that article, start that podcast or contribute whatever you have to this newspaper. It is a privilege to serve a small community and feel the tangible impact that our voices have for staff, students, faculty, administrators and  community members. 

I’m not yet ready to part ways with The Campus — but I know that the paper is in good hands. Despite my separation anxiety, I am confident that The Campus will continue to be a platform that will serve those in our community in meaningful ways. 

Rain Ji, Managing Editor

To our future

I stewed for some time on what I wanted to say as a last farewell to this school, this paper and this basement office that I have called home for the last four years. I settled initially on a message about the value of student journalism — I could dedicate paragraphs to the incredible learning opportunities that arise through the process of reporting a story; I could elaborate on the immense importance of local, community-engaged coverage that happens in college newspapers. 

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After I left the last all-staff meeting of the semester, I had only one thing left to say: I have never been prouder of anything than I am of this year’s staff of The Campus. Through years of the Covid-19 pandemic, they edited articles from isolated dorm rooms, met for staff and editorial meetings over Zoom, and adapted constantly to keep our community informed during the most formative years of our lives. Many of our editors started writing for the newspaper as first-years in the midst of the pandemic, showing impressive dedication through a time when it was exceptionally difficult to engage with anything beyond academics. Over the last nine months, this team brought the college and town stories about crises, changes, culture and community. If you have picked up a newspaper or read an article from us even once this year, it is thanks to the unrelenting work of these amazing people.

Most impressive, perhaps, is the level of care that they bring to this paper. From their attentive consideration of the words we use to describe our community, to the support they have shown each other — and me — in difficult times, they brought a compassionate energy that made often sad and draining work feel rewarding.

Every student should join their college newspaper, or at least write one article for it. It will challenge you in ways you could never have imagined. But the opportunity to learn was why I signed up to write an article in my first year — the fun and brilliant people I had the opportunity to learn from are why I stayed for three more. 

As I say goodbye to my fellow graduating seniors and hand over the reins of this massive project to a new generation of leaders, I know that the paper I gave my college life to is in good hands. Thank you to the editors who taught me, to Abbie and Rain with whom I shared this year, and to the members of our staff who I have had the honor to work alongside. I am in awe of everything they have accomplished this year, and it will be a privilege to witness what they do next.

Tony Sjodin, Managing Editor

Abigail Chang

Abigail Chang ’23 (she/her) is the Editor in Chief.  

She previously served as a managing editor, Senior News Editor, News Editor and co-host of The Campus' weekly news radio show.  

Chang is majoring in English and minoring in linguistics. She is a member of the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project, a Middlebury lab that uses computer-assisted and human coding techniques to analyze bulk newspaper data.  

Throughout last year, Chang worked on source diversity and content audits for different media properties as an intern for Impact Architects LLC. Chang spent summer 2021 in Vermont, working as a general assignment reporter for statewide digital newspaper VTDigger.  Chang is also a member of the Middlebury Paradiddles, an a cappella group.

Rain Ji

Rain Ji '23 is a managing editor of The Campus. She previously served as an Arts & Culture editor.

She is majoring in International and Global Studies with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, she studied abroad in Amman at the University of Jordan. Outside of academics, she enjoys watching Criminal Minds and skiing.

Tony Sjodin

Tony Sjodin ’23 is a managing editor. 

He previously served as community council correspondent, senior writer, news editor and senior news editor.  

Sjodin is majoring in political science with a focus on international and comparative politics. He previously held internships with the Appalachian Mountain Club's Outdoor Magazine, political campaigns in Massachusetts and Vermont, and the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica's Environmental Hub. Outside of class, he leads kayaking and hiking trips with the Middlebury Mountain Club.