My first impressions of The Varsity newspaper was a huge combination of different stories made by some people I didn’t know, and it was an old newspaper at my university. Then I started to see that it was a collection of students that would volunteer their time to write for the University of Toronto. And a collection perhaps doesn’t quite emphasise how many students are a part of it and can write for each section. I felt the need to ask a real person because I had questions. I ended up by accident emailing Ibnul Chowdhury, editor-in-chief this year. He led me to the volunteer sign up section and I wrote an article for the second issue this year. Instead of feeling alienating, I got that human contact and this interaction feeds into the rest of the newspaper.
As a volunteer, I’m a part of sections that interest me. The Arts, Sciences, Photo, Video, Comment sections and the students in charge of them leave little pieces of character in their emails. Even in the seemingly busy time of midterms, one of the many, many students has volunteered to craft said title.
And I wanted to have a go and I thought it might give me a different perspective on this newspaper. I took a topic on murals at the start of the year and found the platform to be fairly open and self-responsible. They laid down some brief instructions and direction and after checking multiple times and ensuring I’d got the correct references, I sent it to the required people.
In my eyes, it is well run. I think they’ve done a great job in managing the online transition this year and they try to keep the thoughtful discussion in the headlights. I don’t know how many people know about the paper or read it online though. And I’m not going to go into how they can help raise issues and solve students’ concerns, that is a conversation for another time.
But you should know there is a topic that is likely to affect you, whether it be a location thing, or faculty decision or personal topic. In my case as an Engineering student, the Engineering faculty are changing the future students’ PEY (year in industry) plans.
The front page and opening page of the November 2nd The Varsity newspaper.
In short, I wondered what it would be like to write an article and my article was fairly descriptive rather than objective and there was a lot of checking and double-checking. Perhaps, I’m not used to writing in that style, just yet. And I had the Engineering news among others to relate to in this paper. Yet, in the future, if there’s nothing that crosses my path for many weeks, I’m much more comfortable to contribute and speak up and raise the topics I want to talk about. As I should, instead of forever keeping it silent.