Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

An Editor’s Plea

“Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare the truth thou hast, that all may share; be bold proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.” -Voltaire

In my two-plus years at Carleton I have observed no dearth of engaged and opinionated students. My classes are full of Carls more then willing to offer their reflections and ideas. This prevalent inclination to present our thoughts clearly extends beyond the classroom as well. By friends and acquaintances alike I have been challenged to defend my beliefs and opinions in all manner of situations; from intellectual debates over Foucault to heated discussions over the quickest route from the LDC to the Libe (by bike of course, one’s got to figure in the hill). This trait of Carleton students is in large part what drew me to the college and simultaneously that which keeps me content on a daily basis as I find myself pushed towards continuous growth.

In context of my general experience at Carleton however, my time as Viewpoint Editor for The Carletonian has lead me to a surprising realization: Very few members of the student body choose the newspaper as their preferred method of expression. I hear Carls fervently defending their views in the hall, the classroom, even the dance floor, (I swear I overheard a couple at a Sayles dance recently arguing over a comps question). So if we have so much to say, why am I not receiving 15 viewpoint submissions per week versus the occasional one or two I typically collect?

Admittedly, Carleton boasts seven excellent literary publications: The Carletonian, The Clap, The Carl, The Carleton Comics Journal, The Carleton Progressive, The Lens, and Unashamed (ordered in terms of importance; only joking we love you all). Thus I realize that if you did choose to put your thoughts to paper you’d have several options for where to do so. However the Carletonian claims the largest audience of any student publication, distributing papers weekly to alums, parents and Carl fans across the nation. We are also the publication read most frequently by faculty members. Not to mention we are the only weekly publication put together under the influence of sobriety.

Of course in the midst of seventh week I recognize that I am preaching to a precariously busy audience. I don’t ask that we drop our extracurriculars in exchange for lives dedicated to literary expression yet I do think that is important to reflect on the value of presenting our thoughts and opinions to a broader audience. It is all well in good to convince your roommate that the schools off campus housing policy is bogus but is quite another to make a persuasive case to the campus at large.
Change occurs through collective, concentrated efforts and the newspaper is one of the most traditional, civil means of doing so. Next time you find yourself ranting or raving I simply ask that you consider your commitment to the issue and the relevance of your cause to the greater student body. If you think you’ve landed on an important point or an original idea, why not put it to paper?

-Lily VanderStaay is the Viewpoint Editor for The Carletonian.

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