Michael Hagan ’15
One year ago today, Friarside Chats launched. A small group of new friends and I channeled our mutual frustration with the actions of existing campus media into momentum towards the realization of a mutual vision. We wanted to create a new forum for perspectives otherwise pushed to the fringe by the administration and administratively ordained press highly defensive of its status-quo.
From this altruistic yet defiant spirit, Friarside Chats was born October 6, 2012. With just three writers at launch (our team quickly grew to four), we used Facebook and word of mouth to generate buzz over this experiment in campus media. We wrote about on and off campus issues. We challenged administrative practices the Cowl felt it couldn’t. We wrote not as journalists but as Friars and friends committed to our school and sharing our honest convictions. We explored matters that interested us, though our ever-increasing readership bore witness to the fact that we were not unique in our interests.
Friarside Chats has been criticized essentially for rocking the boat. But I am proud of our body of work and of the dialogue and reform it has played a role in precipitating. Each writer writes freely and independently. Feedback is offered, but no writer is ever forced to alter his or her writing. We don’t always agree on matters; such was never our goal. But it is a wonderful experience to be part of a team of writers with mutually abundant respect for each other. I am confident that each member of our present team of six shares this sentiment.
This project is one year young. To the excitement of many and the chagrin of others, we’re not going anywhere. Internally, much has changed. My own role as blog administrator has been scaled back this semester as I am studying abroad for the entirety of my junior year. Two of our writers have graduated. One Friarside alumna has gone on to become a Capitol Hill staffer in Washington, DC. Another one of our writers is now vice-president of Student Congress.
We observe this milestone by reflecting on our beginnings and refocusing on our unchanged mission. Personally I feel as though we get carried away when we see ourselves as such great agents of change on this campus. The pen is mighty; words have weight. But what is mightier still is this student body when informed by diverse perspectives on relevant issues. We chat, and our Chats become a part of that diversity.
Each campus media outlet offers something unique, and Friarside is unique in offering student commentary independent from administrative review or regulation. This does not make our work better or more vital than other campus media; it simply makes it different. We believe that this matters, and we thank you for believing too.
Thank you for your readership in this first year of Friarside Chats, and here’s to the many great years ahead!