It’s hard to pick out students who write for their college newspaper in a crowd—not because they’re unfamiliar to you, but because of their familiarity. You’ve passed them in the Humanities staircase or sat next to them in the library. You’ve probably had a class with them, a GE maybe.
Granted you get a seat at the table, anyone could be at the copy desk—placing commas, correcting grammar, suggesting headlines. They could be an RA on campus—the type to turn a cheek when you stumble home late Thursday night, then act like it never happened when she sees you in class Friday morning.
They could be someone from your orientation group freshman year, and with each interaction comes back the ugly memory of the late August heat breathing down your neck as you both awkwardly participate in the classic icebreaker, two truths and a lie.
Anyone could be a page editor, laying out the pages of the paper— maybe someone who spends most of his time walking back and forth between New Paltz Cinema and Lenape Hall. Or that guy who hosted the frat party you went to last weekend where someone took a shit on the stairs. What about someone you went to high school with? They could even be a bouncer at a bar in town— someone who formerly knew you as a 24-year-old resident of Blairstown, New Jersey. Now, he’s a bartender and you’re still from Brooklyn.
Even the editor-in-chief could be one of those loud athletes who lived a few doors down from you sophomore year, but as a non-athletic, regular person (NARP), you knew your place, especially in Gage Hall.
Spending two semesters writing for the paper has shown me that in New Paltz, there’s no shortage of students who care about their community. But, inside the confines of orange walls on Wednesday nights, while listening to some questionable music, they aren’t just an RA or someone you went to high school with—they’re Alicia and Maddy, Jake and Jimmy, Rachael and Natalie.
Although my time writing for the paper has come to an end, my time in the community hasn’t. I may not be covering a protest, but marching in one. I may not be taking notes at an event, but hosting one. I could say “hi” to you in class Friday mornings, or maybe I’ll walk with you to New Paltz Cinema. And on Thursdays, you might even catch me reading a copy of The Oracle.