President’s note: Your voice, your media

I’m Andreas, the 2017-2018 president and publisher of Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications. Throughout my time at Laurier I’ve become heavily involved with various WLUSP publications – such as The Cord – and I have come to appreciate the role that student media plays within any university community.

As a first-year, new to the whole university thing and also as an off campus resident, I was extremely out of the loop with anything that didn’t have to do with my classes. Looking back that’s a flawed way to get through school because there’s so much that goes into shaping your education and university experience than simply just the classes that you attend – shocking, I know. 

The more that I became involved with student publications, the more I began to understand the significance of being engaged and informed.

WLUSP houses nine established publications across the Waterloo and Brantford campuses. This includes an online radio station, two campus newspapers, a community newspaper, an arts and literature magazine, the student planner, two yearbooks and a market research group. Each publication offering a unique outlet to express your voice in a variety of ways. These nine publications all work to one common goal – to offer the Laurier student population a collective voice. 

And that is exactly the major objective that student media is tasked with every year.

I myself actively wrote articles and took photos for The Cord, becoming immersed in things that I had no idea even existed. My thirst for knowledge and ability to express myself grew tremendously.

I realized at the time that I wanted photography to be my main source of expression and my skills began to improve.

That was just me though, and whether you’re most comfortable with creating writing, reporting, graphic design, live broadcasting or any number of other modes of expression, there is a place for you within student publications and I encourage you to find your voice and never be too shy to speak up. 

With my time at WLUSP, I was able to have media access to concerts, be on the sidelines of major football games, hear the words of established professors, and ultimately gain incredible insight into how the infrastructure of university and the KW community is shaped and effects me as a member of that community. 

It is the skills you build by being engaged that will allow you to be successful here and also in any future career route you take along the way. This is your time to explore new venues and pave the path that works best for you.

Unfortunately, there can be a lack of understanding when it comes to just how important of a role each student has in simply being aware with Laurier affairs.

Last year, in a study published by Laurier Student Poll, students were asked to name the current Students’ Union president with approximately 16 per cent of students being able to do so correctly.

You can see why this is more than a bit problematic. 

It seems ridiculous that such a small number of people don’t know the name of a figure so vital in shaping part of their university experience, yet I can admit that in my early days of university I was in the same boat. That’s simply because I didn’t yet appreciate the value of staying informed with the things that effect us so closely. 

Once you become integrated within a community, whatever it may be, you ultimately have the responsibility to stay aware and engaged to some degree.

I am by no means saying the only way to do this is by contributing pieces to our publications, but you should never be hesitant to learn about relevant topics or to add to the conversation and challenge us to do better.

We are all here for the same reason and we wish to improve the experience for all of us.

So, during your time at Wilfrid Laurier University always remember that you are a part of a larger community and you can bet we’ll be here to give you a platform and a voice to speak with.

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