EDITORIAL: Creating a supportive environment for student groups

At Issue: Competing on-campus organizations

Our Take: We’re all in this together

The college’s focus on arts and communication calls for students to have extensive, hands-on experiences in their field, whether through journalism, performing arts, marketing communication, or other tracks. Most of us gain this experience through on-campus, extracurricular organizations where we work with peers and faculty to develop our skills. Since involvement in organizations is extremely common on campus, we should all try refraining from disparaging other students who are simply trying to master their craft. Organizations at Emerson need to support, aid, and cooperate with each other better in order to improve both the students’ experiences in the group and the content those groups produce.

Every student should be proud of the work they produce and the organization they represent. All of us are learning, and we know we can always do better. But the Beacon cannot improve if we have to continuously jump through hurdles to stand up for what we believe in––providing a voice for students and reporting on stories for the broader Emerson community. We shouldn’t be afraid of targeted criticism from others when we share that we work for the Beacon. The biases some people may hold about the Beacon often stem from many semesters ago, when the leadership and staff were completely different.  

The Beacon provides its staff with an outlet for writing, editing, design, photography, videography, and social media skills. We reflect on our own work by collecting feedback from our readers and trying to correct mistakes we have made in the past. But we also gain a new staff of writers and editors each semester. These new staff members often come in without knowledge or involvement in any Beacon-related incidents or minor controversies from previous semesters. Carrying over any rancor or hostility toward new staff members only perpetuates the problem and does nothing to solve it.

While competition is necessary for innovation and productivity, an excessive amount can block collaboration and become counterintuitive. Between magazines, radio stations, musicals, plays, and other organizations, there’s an inherent desire to outperform one another. We should devote our passions into bettering our own work—not dragging down others’. Don’t trash talk the other groups, focus on improving your own, and appreciate the content others are producing.

Being more appreciative of organizations will help tame the college’s occasionally hostile atmosphere. Students should have welcoming attitudes toward groups on campus, so each organization can feel more comfortable creating and sharing the content they work incredibly hard on. After college, we won’t have these organizations and peers to support our work and to provide praise and constructive criticism when warranted. So, for now, it’s important we take advantage of this support system while we still can.

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